Nick Kyrgios withdraws from Australia’s ATP Cup clash with Canada with a back injury

Australia

Nick Kyrgios was scheduled to play Australia’s opening match at the ATP Cup but withdrew through injury — handing a local favourite the chance to shine.

With Kyrgios hindered by a sore back, Millman answered the call of captain Lleyton Hewitt at Pat Rafter Arena.

“Millmania” was alive and kicking, with the 30-year-old Brisbane product nullifying the power game of Auger-Aliassime, ranked 27 places higher than the Queenslander at number 21.

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John Millman answered the call of captain Lleyton Hewitt after an injury to Nick Kyrgios.

John Millman answered the call of captain Lleyton Hewitt after an injury to Nick Kyrgios.

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John Millman answered the call of captain Lleyton Hewitt after an injury to Nick Kyrgios. Credit: AAP

The win went some way towards exorcising Millman’s Davis Cup demons after he blamed himself for Australia’s quarter-final loss to Canada in November when as a replacement for Kyrgios, he was beaten 7-6 6-4 by Vasek Pospisil.

Millman and Auger-Aliassime had met once previously, with the Canadian teenager winning 7-6 7-5 in May last year (2019) in a round-of-16 clash on clay in Lyon.

But it was a different story on blue hardcourts of Brisbane, with Millman’s fighting spirit evident from his first service game.

Down 0-40, Millman fought back to win the next five points to level proceedings at 1-1.

However the power of the Canadian was too much for Millman in the fourth game, with Auger-Aliassime breaking to lead 3-1.

But Millman’s response was automatic, breaking back in the next game.

John Millman celebrates his win over Felix Auger-Aliassime.

John Millman celebrates his win over Felix Auger-Aliassime.

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John Millman celebrates his win over Felix Auger-Aliassime. Credit: AAP

It was part of nine-point run that helped Millman secure successive service breaks to take control of the set.

Fittingly he closed the 51-minute set with an ace.

Having broken the spirit of Auger-Aliassime, Millman ruthlessly finished the job in the second set, breaking the Canadian’s serve twice to seal the match in one hour and 41 minutes.

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