Australia Green’s hopes of reaching the Hopman Cup final rests with the mixed doubles after Daria Gavrilova lost her singles match to France’s Caroline Garcia.
Gavrilova’s 6-4 7-6 (9-7) loss levelled the tie at 1-1 after Australian star Nick Kyrgios thrashed Kenny De Schepper 6-4 6-4 in 56 minutes earlier in the night.
Australia Green need to win the tie if they are to progress to Saturday’s final against Ukrainian duo Alexandr Dolgopolov and Elina Svitolina.
Should Australia Green lose the mixed doubles, Great Britain’s pairing of Andy Murray and Heather Watson will play Ukraine in the decider.
Australia’s only Hopman Cup title came back in 1999, when Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic took out the crown, beating Swedish pair Jonas Bjorkman and Asa Carlsson in the final.
The last time Australia reached the final was in 2003, when Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik were defeated 3-0 by Serena Williams and James Blake.
Kyrgios said it would be special if he and Gavrilova could reach the final and end Australia’s 17-year title drought at the mixed-teams event.
“It’s an event that’s been held for a long, long time – before I was even born,” Kyrgios said.
“It’s pretty special. Especially me and Dasha – we grew up together in juniors. Hopefully we can bring it home.”
Kyrgios used his powerful serve to great effect on the way to winning the first set against De Schepper in just 22 minutes.
And he saved the only break point against him with an ace when trailing 3-2 in the second set.
Kyrgios is unbeaten in his three singles matches at the Hopman Cup, with the most impressive display a straight-sets demolition of world No.2 Andy Murray on Wednesday night.
After completing his Hopman Cup duties, Kyrgios will compete in the Fast4 Tennis event in Sydney on Monday, before heading to Melbourne for the Kooyong Classic.
“I have played three quality matches and put in a lot of training,” Kyrgios said.
“But there is still a long way to go and I’ve still got to do a lot more things to prepare for the Australian Open.”
Gavrilova put up a good fight for most of her singles match.
But two double faults during the second-set tiebreak proved costly.