Rookie Jordan Thompson upset Czech number one Jiri Vesely in straight sets to give Australia a winning start to their Davis Cup World Group tie in Melbourne on Friday.
Thompson, 22 and ranked 65, made surprisingly light work of the 54th-ranked Vesely, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and six minutes on the Kooyong hardcourt, reports BSS.
Thompson was handed his debut by captain Lleyton Hewitt after the 27th-ranked Bernard Tomic made himself unavailable, citing scheduling issues, while Vesely took over as the top-ranked Czech player following the unavailability of world number ten Tomas Berdych.
Czech number one Jiri Vesely
The Australian began well with a break in the opening game and had few problems with the shaky Czech left-hander making five service breaks.
“It’s the biggest moment in my career, the summer has been pretty good, but playing for your country is amazing and getting us off to a 1-0 lead is even better,” Thompson said.
“There were some nerves at the start, but I was just glad the balls were coming off the racquet nicely.”
Vesely said ahead of the clash: “It’s something new for me, I’ve never started a tie before so it’s definitely a new experience for me.”
It is the eighth meeting in Davis Cup for the two nations with Australia leading 7-1. Australia won their last meeting 3-2 at the same stage two years ago in Ostrava.
Australia lost in the first round last year, but defeated Slovakia in a play-off to maintain their World Group status, while the Czech Republic reached last year’s quarterfinals but fell to France.