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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Aussies Storm Back to Knock Swiss Out of Cup




ZURICH, Switzerland -- Hard-fought victories by Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis catapulted Australia to a 3-2 victory over Switzerland in their Davis Cup tie Sunday and salvaged the honor of the defending champions.


Philippoussis struggled through a 3 hour, 40 minute marathon against an unexpectedly strong George Bastl to finally take the match 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.


In a 2 1/2 hour duel between the top two teenagers on the men's circuit, Hewitt defeated Roger Federer 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.


Both Australians were stars of last year's Davis Cup victory over the United States, the country's 27th title. The Swiss team, by contrast, was inexperienced and weakened by disputes with captain Jakob Hlasek, culminating in the exclusion of Davis Cup veteran Marc Rosset.


The Australians came to Switzerland expecting to trounce the underdogs, only to find themselves 1-2 down and on the verge of elimination following their shock loss in Saturday's doubles.


Even though the Swiss lost Sunday, their electrifying performance looked set to ensure that the Swiss men will finally emerge from the shadow of Swiss women's tennis legend Martina Hingis.


Rising to the electric atmosphere in the stadium, 18-year-old Hewitt restored the psychological advantage with his win over Federer, also 18.


"There's no doubt this was probably my biggest match," said Hewitt. "I tried to be mentally tough. Tougher than I'd ever been."


Hewitt got off to a smooth start but then faltered in the second set to lose it 3-6. Cheered on by vocal Aussie supporters in the crowd, he fought his way through a difficult tiebreak third set to take advantage of Federer through the fourth set 6-1.


United States 3, Zimbabwe 2. In Harare, Zimbabwe, the United States pulled itself back from the abyss Sunday to reach the Davis Cup quarterfinals with a dramatic victory from Chris Woodruff in the deciding match and two wins in singles on the final day.


Woodruff, filling in for the injured Pete Sampras, defeated Zimbabwe's Wayne Black in the fifth and deciding match 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 6-4. A weakened Andre Agassi did his part in the United States' 3-2 first-round victory by beating the other Black brother, Byron Black, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the first singles match.


That set the stage for Davis Cup rookie Woodruff, who looked stiff and shaken in his opening singles loss Friday. But he responded when he had to, just as U.S. team captain John McEnroe hoped he would.


Zimbabwe had stunned the U.S. team Saturday by taking a 2-1 lead with a Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett's five-set doubles victory over Americans Rick Leach and Alex O'Brien.


Agassi, the world No. 1, brought the Americans even by beating the hometown hero, Byron Black. He used powerful ground strokes to outlast Black, Zimbabwe's top player, despite altitude sickness and dehydration.


Russia 4, Belgium 1. In Moscow, Belgium escaped total defeat against Russia when Filip Dewulf upset Andrei Cherkasov in the final match 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 at Olimpiisky Sports Complex.


Russia built an unassailable 3-0 lead Saturday when doubles partners Marat Safin and Cherkasov defeated the inexperienced Belgian brothers Christophe and Olivier Rochus.


In Sunday's other singles, Mikhail Yuzhny defeated Christophe Rochus 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 in his debut on the national team.


Spain 4, Italy 1. In Murcia, Spain split with Italy at home Sunday to advance 4-1 after clinching in Saturday's doubles. Italy's Andrea Gaudenzi defeated Albert Costa, Spain, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4, and Francisco Clavet won over Vincenzo Santopadre of Italy, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-3.


Slovakia 3, Austria 2. In Bratislava, Slovakia, the Slovenians used their reserve players and lost both singles. With nothing to lose after already being ensured of a place in the quarterfinals, Slovakia rested top player Dominik Hrbaty and Karol Kucera. Stefan Koubek defeated Jan Kroslak 6-3, 6-2 and Markus Hifpl won over Ladislav Svarc 6-2, 6-4.


Czech Republic 4, Britain 1. In Ostrava, Czech Republic, Jiri Novak upset Tim Henman in straight sets to secure the Czech's clinching third point winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in Ostrava.


In the final singles, Bohdan Ulihrach beat Jamie Delgado 5-7, 7-5, 6-4. Henman looked weary after a marathon singles match on Friday and Saturday doubles as he tried to cover for the injured and missing Greg Rusedski.


Germany 4, Netherlands 1. In Leipzig, Germany, Tommy Haas, Germany's top player in the absence of Nicolas Kiefer, beat Sjeng Schalken 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in Germany's near sweep. David Prinosil completed the 4-1 victory by beating John van Lottum 6-3, 6-3 in the last, meaningless singles.


Brazil 4, France 1. In Florianapolis, Brazil, France salvaged some pride as Nicolas Escude beat Brazilian star Gustavo Kuerten 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in Florianopolis. Brazil clinched its quarterfinal berth Saturday sweeping to a 3-0 lead with a doubles victory. In the other singles match, Francisco Costa of Brazil defeated Arnaud Clement 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-2.


In the lineup for the Davis Cup quarterfinals in April, the United States is home to the Czech Republic, Spain is home against Russia, Brazil has the home court against Slovakia, and Australia will host Germany.