Bernard Tomic earned Australia a shot at moving back into the Davis Cup World Group, clinching a 3-1 win for the Aussies in his comeback against Uzbekistan. The prodigal child of Australian tennis defeated Denis Istomin in the opening reverse singles match in Namangan, to claim the Asia/Oceania second round tie.
It was a strong team performance from the Aussies on their usually unfancied clay surface. Tomic won his opening singles rubber against Farrukh Dustov and was backed up by Lleyton Hewitt and Matthew Ebden who won the doubles rubber in an immense five-set contest.
The doubles result means Ebden is still unbeaten representing Australia in Davis Cup, while Hewitt improved his doubles record in the competition to 14-3. The pair ensuring the Aussies opponents in the reverse were on court for almost four hours in the process.
Tomic's win goes a long way to earning him some redemption after his much publicised spat with team captain Pat Rafter. The 20-year-old had previously made himself unavailable for the second-round tie after Rafter had dropped him from the first-round team for disciplinary reasons.
Tomic described his turnaround as huge and said his results, "proved I should be back in the (Davis Cup) team and belong here." Australia will now face Poland away from home in September, in their attempt to enter the top tier of the competition for the first time since 2007.
The Aussies have lost to European opposition in their past three World Group play-offs attempts but will feel they are a strong chance to go through. It will be Poland's first attempt at entering the world's top-16 nations after they defeated South Africa 3-1 in their second-round qualifier.
The 28-time Davis Cup champions will be desperate to secure a win in the best-of-five play-off, as they have lost at this stage five times in past six years. Rafter said motivation will definitely not be an issue for his chargers, emphatically stating, "no-one wants to be here (in this group). We want to get out."
The crucial play-off for entry into the World Group in 2014 will be played later in the year, from September 13-15. You can be sure we'll be televising all the action and cheering the Aussies on at Strathfield Sports Club, where tennis is kind of a big deal!