Team Australia is headed to Sydney. The host country of the ATP Cup became the first team to qualify for the Final Eight, which starts Thursday, when Germany (1-1) beat Greece (0-2) in Group F late Sunday night in Brisbane.
On Sunday afternoon, Alex de Minaur rallied from a set down to win for the second time in as many matches and put the host country in Final Eight qualification position.
De Minaur beat Canada's Denis Shapovalov 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2 in a battle of 20-year-old #NextGenATP stars and clinched the tie for the home country.
“I managed to turn things around, get back into a positive mindset, get my energy back,” De Minaur said. “I think it's all energy. It's good that in the back of my head I know that all the hard work I've put in in the pre-season, so I know that my body's ready to keep on going for however long it takes.”
Watch: De Minaur Clinches Tie Against Shapovalov
Shapovalov was in control, up a set and a break at 7-6(6), 4-2. But De Minaur, with the green and gold fans roaring in a packed Pat Rafter Arena, broke Shapovalov back and rode the momentum the rest of the way. From 2-4 down in the second set, the Aussie No. 1 won six consecutive games to lead 2-0 in the deciding set.
“I felt like the win was right there in my hands, set and a break up and everything was kind of going my way,” Shapovalov said. “[In] the second set, I didn't do much wrong. I made a couple mistakes, but that's normal, and he really took advantage and just really played just super, super solid. I mean, he wasn't giving me anything.”
Australia qualifies for the Final Eight as the Group F winner if Germany beats Greece later Sunday as Australia beat Germany on Friday. De Minaur also came back from a set down against World No. 7 Alexander Zverev to clinch the opening tie.
Earlier Sunday, Aussie John Millman more than adequately filled in for an injured Nick Kyrgios (back pain) to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-2 and give the host country the lead.
Millman came to his hometown of Brisbane as his country's No. 3 singles player and was ready to play a supporting role all week at the inaugural 24-team tournament being played in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.
But he was thrust into action when Kyrgios pulled out just before the 10 a.m. singles match.
“It's always difficult, a late call up, but it doesn't get much easier in a difficult circumstance than when you get to play here in Brisbane, a place where you're familiar with the court and the surroundings and you know that you're going to have a vocal crowd in your corner,” Millman said.
Highlights: Millman Beats Felix To Earn Lead For Australia
The 30-year-old Queenslander fell behind 1-3 but settled into his home Pat Rafter Arena, testing Auger-Aliassime with long rallies in steamy conditions.
The two played on clay in Lyon last year, a straight-sets win for Auger-Aliassime. But Millman left with with an impression of the 19-year-old's game.
“Felix is always going to take pretty big cuts at the ball. He's brash and he's bold and he's got a lot of confidence in his game. He likes to get that first hit away,” Millman said. “So I knew I was going to have to fight off a fair few balls. And that first game was a bit of a wake-up call. But you also know in the back of your mind, that it's a long match.”
Millman made Auger-Aliassime grind out rallies, and the Canadian finished with 42 unforced errors to 23 winners. After the slow start, Millman won 11 of the final 14 games.
Aussies Chris Guccione/John Peers finished off the sweep with a 3-6, 7-6(3), 10-8 win against Auger-Aliassime/Adil Shamasdin.
Hot Shot: Peers/Guccione Prevail With Volleying Masterclass