Aussies ready for Davis Cup battle

Davis Cup captain Wally Masur says Australia will have to be on the ball if they are to beat Kazakhstan in their quarterfinal showdown in Darwin, starting Friday.

Australia are bidding to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2006, with the hosts boasting a strong team, despite the absence of world No.25 Bernard Tomic.

Rising star Nick Kyrgios will lead the charge after Tomic was banned, while fellow young gun Thanasi Kokkinakis may also get a singles berth.

Veterans Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth are also part of the team.

Kazakhstan’s team features only one player inside the top-100 (world No.63 Mikhail Kukushkin), with Aleksandr Nedovyesov (115th), and Andrey Golubev (155th) the other main members.

Despite this, Kazakhstan have reached the Davis Cup quarterfinals in four of the past five years, and they are desperate to go at least one step further this year.

“That is extraordinary,” Masur said of the visitors’ record.

“It just points to the focus they have, and intensity and passion.

“It’s about being a team, and they’re a good team; they’re together.

“You can see the comradery.

“I’ve been parts of teams with that sort of emotion and good will – everyone lifts. And that’s what they do.”

Kyrgios suffered an injury scare at training on Wednesday when he hurt his right thigh, but Masur said the 20-year-old would be fit to train on Thursday.

The Davis Cup draw will be announced on Thursday.

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