Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic have given Australia a perfect start to its Davis Cup tie against Slovakia, winning the opening two singles matches.
Kyrgios made a successful return to the national team, beating Andrej Martin in the first match of the world group play-off in Sydney, before Tomic took down Jozef Kovalik.
Kyrgios made light work of his 127th-ranked opponent to cruise to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 at Ken Rosewall Arena
Australian number two Bernard Tomic, meanwhile, had to fight through a first-set tiebreak against Kovalik in the second singles match but bounced back to win 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4 as the hosts took a stranglehold on the best-of-five-rubber grass-court tie.
Tomic stormed to a 4-0 lead in the final set, but world number 123 Kovalik would not be denied.
He rattled off four straight games to square things up at 4-4 before Tomic finished the job, eventually wrapping up his 17th win in green and gold.
Kyrgios shakes off hip concerns, nose bleed to win
Decidedly less experienced in Davis Cup, Kyrgios was playing his first match since a forgettable performance in last year’s quarter-final win over Kazakhstan in Darwin and was more inconvenienced by a nose bleed than his lowly ranked opponent.
The world number 15 spent much of the final set with a tissue up his left nostril, but overcame the irritation to collect his first Davis Cup point for Australia in two years.
After suffering a shock loss to world number 115 Aleksandr Nedovyesov in Darwin, then-Australian captain Wally Masur replaced the temperamental youngster with Sam Groth for the must-win reverse singles.
Kyrgios was then overlooked for Australia’s semi-final loss to Great Britain last year following his infamous sledging of Stan Wawrinka, before missing the first-round defeat to the US at Kooyong in March with a virus.
But the 21-year-old made a welcome — and incident-free — return to national service on Friday to give Australia the early ascendancy in their bid to retain their place in the 16-team world group for 2017.
Kyrgios bounced back from the disappointment of dropping serve to love in the seventh game of the match to break Martin for a second time and pocket the opening set in just 25 minutes.
He broke the Slovak’s serve for a third-straight game to seize the early advantage in the second set and secured a two-set lead with his fifth ace.
The Australian number one dropped serve immediately after requiring treatment for his nose bleed to fall behind 3-1 in the third set.
But he quickly regained control to reel off four straight games to take the match after one hour and 40 minutes.
This article first appeared at ABC Online