DARWIN: Sam Groth sent Australia's Davis Cup quarterfinal with Kazakhstan to a fifth-match decider with a 6-3, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (6) win Sunday over Mikhail Kukushkin.
Groth was a late substitute for Nick Kyrgios, who faced criticism for his on-court demeanor in Friday's loss in the second singles match against Kazakhstan, as well as at Wimbledon, where he was fined nearly $10,000 for racket abuse and swearing.
"This is probably the most magical feeling I've had in tennis," said Groth, who had 29 aces in the match. "I had to have confidence in my game, and I came through under pressure."
Kazakhstan led 2-0 on the outdoor grass courts after Friday's singles. Australia reduced the deficit when Groth and Lleyton Hewitt won Saturday's doubles.
In the deciding singles, captain Wally Masur replaced Thanasi Kokkinakis, who lost his singles match Friday in straight sets, with the veteran Hewitt. He'll play Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Australia has come back from 2-0 down only once, in the 1939 final against the United States.
The winner will play either Britain or France in September's semifinals. Britain leads France 2-1 going into the reverse singles Sunday on grass at the Queen's Club in London.
Kazakhstan, which has competed in Davis Cup as an independent team since 1995, is attempting to advance to the semifinals for the first time.
Australia was playing without its highest-ranked player, No. 25 Bernard Tomic, after Tennis Australia suspended him for critical comments against the national association during Wimbledon. To make matters worse, Tomic was charged with resisting arrest in Miami Beach, Florida, last week after ignoring hotel security and police requests to turn down loud music in his luxury suite.
Masur said he realized he could have been criticized for replacing the No. 41-ranked Kyrgios with No. 68 Groth for the reverse singles. The 20-year-old Kyrgios said he felt mentally drained during Friday's loss to No. 115 Nedovyesov.
"That's no different to being physically exhausted after a big month or a big match," Masur said Sunday before Groth's win. "It takes its toll."
"I kind of feel sorry for Nick in a way because it was almost a little bit of hysteria about some of the stuff that went on at Wimbledon. The press cycle just kind of went into overdrive."