Nick Kyrgios puts Australia level in Davis Cup semi-final with Belgium
Last Updated: 18/09/17 2:23pm
The two Davis Cup semi-finals are both locked at 1-1 following Friday's opening singles rubbers.
Australia needed an inspired Nick Kyrgios to battle back from two sets to one down in Brussels to beat Steve Darcis over five dramatic sets after David Goffin had overcome John Millman in the opening rubber.
In Lille, it was France who had to rally from 1-0 down as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Laslo Djere to level the tie after Dusan Lajovic had shocked Lucas Pouille.
Both matches head into Saturday's doubles seeking the win that will put them just one winning rubber away from a place in the final.
In France, the home crowd will be cheering on Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert when they take on Nenad Zimonjic and Filip Krajinovic, while in Belgium, Australian duo Jordan Thompson and John Peers will attempt to silence the crowd with a victory over Ruben Bemmelmans and Arthur De Greef.
Kyrgios, who has often spoken of his love for Davis Cup tennis and relishes the nature of team sport, eventually wore down world no 77 Darcis in a match lasting three and a half hours on Friday.
Having taken the first set, Kyrgios saw Darcis rally to reel off the next two sets and put last year's beaten finalists, who have never won the competition, on the brink of a 2-0 lead.
However, Kyrgios produced his best tennis of the match to claim the final two sets for the loss of just three games and seal a 6-3 3-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-2 success to keep Australia firmly in the hunt for a first Davis Cup crown since 2003.
Earlier in the day, world no 12 Goffin, who recently returned from injury, beat late Australian call-up Millman despite losing the first set. World no 185 Millman, in for Thanasi Kokkinakis, was no match for Goffin's power as the more experienced man came through to eventually triumph 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-3 7-5.
Across the border and just 75 miles away in Lille, it was a similar story as Tsonga was required to level the match after world no 80 Lajovic beat world no 22 Pouille in the opening rubber of the tie.
France have lost in three finals since their last Davis Cup success and their miserable run looked to be continuing when Lajovic stunned the home crowd at the Stade Pierre Mauroy by claiming the first set.
Pouille fought back level by claiming the second set, but it was Lajovic who came through tie-breaks in sets three and four to win 1-6 6-3 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5).
There was no such drama in the second rubber as top-ranked Frenchman Tsonga had little trouble racing past world no 95 Djere with a routine 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 6-3 victory.
Of the four semi-finalists Serbia are the most recent champions - when Novak Djokovic inspired then to victory over France in 2010 - but they are without their three highest-ranked players, most notably Djokovic whose season is over.