Davis Cup comebacks: From James Ward’s marathon win to Lleyton Hewitt’s demolition job
After Spain’s remarkable comeback against Germany in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup over the weekend, Isaac Seelochan looks back at some of the greatest comebacks in the competition’s illustrious history.
Mikhail Youzhny’s incredible performance to beat France in the 2002 final
The 2002 Davis Cup final saw defending champions France host a Russia team which had the likes of Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov at their disposal.
The tie went to a deciding fifth rubber, featuring Paul-Henri Mathieu and Mikhail Youzhny with Mathieu taking a seemingly unassailable two sets to love lead, before Youzhny roared back and completed an incredible 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory to help Russia to win their first-ever Davis Cup title.
Croatia overcome USA with epic quarter-final victory
In the quarter-finals of the 2016 Davis Cup, Croatia found themselves down 2-0 away from home against the USA.
What was to follow was one of the all-time comebacks, as Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig won the doubles, before Cilic beat John Isner and Borna Coric defeated Jack Sock to seal the comeback in a year where Croatia would reach the final where they lost against Argentina.
Argentina come back from the brink in the 2016 final
With the home side Croatia having taken a 2-1 lead, it was all set up for Marin Cilic to win the Davis Cup and it looked certain to be the case when the Croat took a two sets to love lead over Juan Martin del Potro.
However, Del Potro hit back to win 6-7 (4-7), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 to take the final to a fifth rubber where Federico Delbonis beat Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to win Argentina their first Davis Cup.
Great Britain back from the dead to beat Russia
Back in 2013, Great Britain were playing in the Euro/Africa Group One Zone and needed to overcome Russia to reach the World Group play-offs.
GB, were without Andy Murray so Russia were seen as the clear favourites to go through and when James Ward and Dan Evans lost in five sets to give Russia a 2-0, it looked like Russia were about to win the tie.
However, after Jonny Marry and Colin Fleming won the doubles to reduce the deficit to 2-1, a dramatic five-set win for James Ward against Dmitry Tursunov saw GB level the tie at 2-2 before Dan Evans beat Evgeny Donskoy in straight sets to seal a memorable comeback.
Lleyton Hewitt completes epic Australia comeback against Kazakhstan
With Australia 0-2 down to Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals in 2015, Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth won the doubles to give Australia a lifeline, before Groth won the fourth rubber in the singles to level it at 2-2.
Then Hewitt completed the job as he showed no signs of nerves with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-3 demolition job over Aleksandr Nedovyesovto put Australia in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup.
James Ward’s magnificent comeback against the USA in 2015
After Andy Murray had won the first rubber for GB, James Ward had a chance to give his country a commanding 2-0 lead against John Isner.
Isner won the first two sets and it looked like the USA were about to level the tie, but Ward who was ranked 111 in the world at the time, produced a remarkable comeback to win 6-7 (5-7), 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) 15-13 after almost five hours.
GB would lose in the doubles the following day, but it didn’t matter as Andy Murray beat a weary Isner in the fourth rubber to put GB into the quarter-finals and on their way to a first Davis Cup title in 79 years.
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