Australia can still reach the final of this year’s Hopman Cup tournament in Perth, despite losing their tie against Belgium on Wednesday night.
An improbably victory against the formidable German team of Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber on Friday night could yet earn the hosts a chance of winning their third tournament title.
If Germany prevail however, they will go through to Saturday’s final as the unbeaten winners of Group A.
A win for the Australian pair of Daria Gavrilova and Thanasi Kokkinakis will have the young guns looking to the number of sets won over the week to see if they, Germany, or Belgium – who face Canada on Friday – will qualify for the decider.
But that is easier said than done.
The Belgian pair of Elise Mertens and David Goffin won both of their singles matches against the Australians to keep their tournament alive.
World No.7 Goffin continued his impressive recent form to beat Kokkinakis 6-4 6-2.
He broke Kokkinakis’s serve early in each set and then clinically went about defending those leads.
Mertens, the world No.36, fought back from a set down to beat Gavrilova, ranked 25, 2-6 6-4 6-2.
Gavrilova admitted she became too defensive after winning the opening set.
“I started really well and I feel that she stepped up a lot and started making a lot more balls,” Gavrilova said.
“I think I gave up a lot of court and didn’t stick to my plan. I was just starting to play very defensive. I was just chasing balls and went away from what I was doing in the first set.”
Gavrilova planned to quickly forget about the loss as she continues Australian Open preparations.
She has made it to the round of 16 in each of the past two years at the year’s first grand slam tournament.
“I have to look ahead and not so much at what happened today,” she said.
“I have a pretty good pre-season; worked hard. But playing competitive matches is something different. It’s very mental.
“I look forward to playing (Kerber) and looking to improve. Hopefully I can come out and do the things that let me down today.
“It’s only my second match and it was very different to my first one (against Eugenie Bouchard). I’ll get a hang of it.”
Meanwhile, Thursday night’s tie between the USA and Switzerland will determine the winner of Group B.