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Australia leads Czech Republic 2-0 in 1st round of Davis Cup

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (AP) — Australia took a commanding 2-0 lead over the Czech Republic in the first round of the Davis Cup on Friday as Thanasi Kokkinakis and Bernard Tomic won both opening singles matches.

Kokkinakis came from two sets down to upset Lukas Rosol 4-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 before Tomic doubled the advantage by dispatching Jiri Vesely 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5) on indoor hardcourt at CEZ Arena.

Australia is one win away from the quarterfinals against Italy or Kazakhstan after it hasn’t passed the first round in nine years.

The 31st-ranked Rosol led 5-3 in third set but failed to serve the match out at 5-4. He then broke Kokkinakis for a 3-2 lead in the fifth set but the 18-year-old Australian won the next four games to prevail in 3 hours, 32 minutes.

“It was remarkable,” Kokkinakis said. “He got little bit nervous, trying to serve out the match. Even I was two sets to love and he was leading in the third, I felt ready, I felt good.”

The 133rd-ranked Kokkinakis was a surprise choice for Australia captain Wally Masur, who also has veteran Lleyton Hewitt and big-serving Samuel Groth available.

Kokkinakis made the team as a substitute for the injured Nick Kyrgios.

In Saturday’s doubles, Groth and Hewitt can clinch the best-of-five series by beating Czech rookies Adam Pavlasek and Jan Mertl.

After overcoming a slow start and a 2-0 deficit in the opening set, Tomic was not threatened by the Czech in the first two sets. In the hard-fought third set, the Australian converted his fourth match point.

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