Paris - Crowd pullers Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios closed
in on a mouth-watering Davis Cup final duel on Sunday but France and Belgium
cast themselves in the role of party-poopers.
World number two Djokovic and his 2010 Davis Cup champions
Serbia team had already booked their place in September's semi-final against
nine-time winners France by beating Spain who were hamstrung by the absence of
But firebrand Kyrgios needed to seal the deal for Australia
on Sunday, securing the winning point in the first of the reverse singles to
defeat 32-time champions United States.
That gave Australia a semi-final trip to Belgium who also
had to wait until Sunday to wrap up a second last-four date in three years by
seeing off Italy, the conquerors of defending champions Argentina in the first
Kyrgios's 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-4 win over Sam Querrey gave the
Australians an unassailable 3-1 in Brisbane.
The controversial 21-year-old Kyrgios revealed that
Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt had asked him to be the team's leader and he
had been happy to accept the challenge.
"I'm playing better, but I'm just in a happier
place," said the world number 16.
Kyrgios pushed eventual champion Roger Federer to the brink
in the semi-finals in Miami last week and has made the final four in three of
his last four tournaments.
He said that during this run of good form he had always had
one eye on the Davis Cup.
"I've been looking forward to this tie for a long time
now," he said.
"I always had one eye on it. When I was in the States I
always knew I had to come here and play two big matches."
Should Kyrgios and Djokovic make the final in September, the
Australian will not be cowed by the challenge having seen off the world number
two twice this year, in Acapulco and Indian Wells.
Belgium, the runners-up to Great Britain in the 2015 final,
made sure of their semi-final place when national number one David Goffin eased
past Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in Charleroi for a 3-1 lead.
"There's a lot of time between now and September but
Australia will be our focus," said Goffin who won both his singles at the
weekend. "We are going to prepare well for it."
To nullify the big-serving Kyrgios, Belgium will opt for a
clay-court surface if given the opportunity.
Djokovic reckons France, who made their fifth semi-final in
eight years by beating Britain in Rouen, will also go for clay, either in Monte
Carlo or even Roland Garros where he won his first French Open last year.
The 12-time major winner says all the pressure will be on
France who lost the 2010 final to Serbia in Belgrade. France have lost three
finals since their last title triumph in 2001.
"They have had so much success down the years,"
said Djokovic. "It's a very important tournament for them but they have
come up short recently so they will be very hungry."
"They are likely to pick red clay. I am relishing the clay-court season as I felt I played really well throughout this Davis Cup