Australia Smashes China in Davis Cup Opener

Australia gets an easy win to open their Davis Cup campaign

Robert Whiteby Robert White

A doubles victory by Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione pushed Australia over and past China their Davis Cup opening round.

Australia moved to 3-0 in the series, a lead big enough to clinch the tie, after singles wins by Hewitt and Bernard Tomic on Friday and Saturday.

Cruising past China, the Aussies move into the second round of the Asia Oceania group and will play either Chinese Taipei or Korea in April. A second round victory guarantees the nation of a Davis Cup spot when the tournament kicks off in September.

Hewitt and Guccione needed little time to get an advantage against opponents Zhang Ze and Li Zhe, breaking the Chinese serve in the opening match.

The pair sailed on to a comfortable 6-2 6-2 6-2 win.

Tomic was pushed a little harder than expected against his opponent, World No. 502 Wu Di, almost dropping a set but eventually winning 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. It was a slight shock for the Geelong fans in attendance and team captain Pat Rafter believed Tomic’s struggles against the lesser ranked Di were focused related.

"It is just trying to keep him focused. It is about trying to convince yourself that the guy is your level, that you have to get up for the guy, because he actually played some good stuff out there and put Bernie under a bit of pressure there for a while," he said.

Hewitt also needed just three sets to get past his opponent, Ze Zhang, in the singles, 6-2 6-1 7-6 (7-4) but almost dropped the third in an exciting tie-breaker.

However, he biggest controversy was actually the grass court that suffered because of overnight moisture. Hewitt slipped three times in the first set and Zhang went for a one meter surf on another occasion. Despite the conditions, Hewitt and his troublesome big toe were able to get through the surface.