Davis Cup coach Lleyton Hewitt congratulates Nick Kyrgios after levelling the semi-final ledger. (AP: Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Nick Kyrgios has fought back to keep Australia’s Davis Cup hopes alive, seeing off a determined Steve Darcis in a five-set thriller in Brussels.
Kyrgios won 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7-5), 6-1, 6-2 against the wily world number 70 who had looked set to inflict more misery on Australia — seven years after relegating the 28-time champions from the World Group.
Davis Cup tweets Here’s the moment @NickKyrgios defeated Steve Darcis in 5 sets to bring Aus level with Bel in their #DavisCup semifinal
The crucial victory levelled the tie at 1-1 ahead of Saturday’s doubles rubber after David Goffin earlier beat a spirited John Millman.
Kyrgios stormed imperiously through the opening set, sending down eight aces without losing a point in five service games.
The controversial Canberran stirred up the home fans by cupping his ear to them after taking the lead, a move that only seemed to inspire Darcis, who was playing in his 21st tie for his country.
Darcis finally found a way to return the Kyrgios serve and broke in the second game of the second set and held on to level the match.
A titanic third set was decided in a tie-breaker after Darcis fought tooth and nail to save six break points in the fourth game, and a set point when 5-6 down before eventually taking the set.
Nick Kyrgios was made to fight against world number 70 Steve Darcis. (AP: Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
However, the world number 20 silenced the crowd in emphatic fashion by taking the fourth set 6-1 as Darcis struggled to counter his huge serve, with Kyrgios saving a break point with a 227 kph ace.
Davis Cup tweets How about that? A delicious dropshot from @David__Goffin! #BELAUS #DavisCup
Kyrgios continued to serve well in the decider, but Darcis managed to stay in the contest, saving multiple break points before succumbing on serve in the fourth game.
It allowed Kyrigios to see out the match to seal one of his best victories in an Australian shirt.
Goffin prevailed 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 against Millman, who was making his Davis Cup debut.
The world number 12 was made to work hard for his victory by the 185th-ranked Queenslander, who was only called into the team by captain Lleyton Hewitt on Thursday.