Australia win Davis Cup

Mark Philippoussis led Australia to Davis Cup glory on Sunday with a comprehensive 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 win against French No 1 Cedric Pioline that gave his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in the centenary final held in Nice, France.

Mark Philippoussis led Australia to Davis Cup glory on Sunday with a comprehensive 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 win against French No 1 Cedric Pioline that gave his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in the centenary final held in Nice, France.

The win guaranteed Australia its 27th Davis Cup victory and its first since 1986.

The partisan French crowd had hoped that the match was turning when Pioline won the second set after saving a set point.

But the big-serving 23-year-old - who didn't play any Davis Cup matches last year because of a dispute with team bosses - reacted brilliantly, cranking up his famed service and pummeling Pioline with a series of powerful forehands.

By the end, Philippoussis was in total command, firing 15 aces and winning in just two hours, 42 minutes.

"That was t match Mark has played with his head in his life," said Australian captain John Newcombe, a four-time Davis Cup winner as a player. "He didn't have highs and lows, just highs."

After winning the final point Philippoussis was lifted high into the air by his teammates, as hundreds of Australians in the crowd began wild celebrations, waving banners and throwing inflatable kangaroos into the air.

The 30-year-old Pioline, perhaps sensing that his last chance of a Davis Cup win had gone, was in tears.

Australia had begun the day with a 2-1 lead after winning Saturday's doubles clash.

Philippoussis looked especially nervous as the players came onto the court amidst a cauldron of noise from the 10,000 crowd, but it was Pioline who began more uneasily, double-faulting on break point in the first game to give the Aussies an early boost.

Philippoussis coupled his famed big serve with a series of powerful forehand groundstrokes that rattled Pioline, who double-faulted again on Philippoussis' first set point to put Australia one set ahead.

Philippoussis missed a great chance to take the second set, wasting a set point when Pioline was serving at 4-5.

The Australian, stretching his six-feet-four-inch frame to reach a drop shot, put the ball well wide.

In the next game he seemed to lose patience, playing a wayward forehand when defending a break point.

When Pioline made it one set all, the French crowd hoped that their dreams of a win could come true.

But Philippoussis, after a pep talk from Newcombe, came out with all guns blazing, taking the third set in just 32 minutes.

The 1998 US Open finalist turned on the style in the fourth.

At 1-1, he blasted four powerful winners past a bemused Pioline, including one blistering forehand onto the line that had the Frenchman holding his head in his hands.

Philippoussis said it was the most important win of his career.

"This is the best moment of my life," he said. "I concentrated really well. I can honestly say that I heard no noise from the crowd, just the ball hitting the line, the line calls and my heart beating."

"I got injured at Wimbledon this year and who knows if I could have gone on to win there. But I would take this for a Wimbledon win any time," he said.

Australia, which eliminated Zimbabwe, the United States and Russia to reach its 44th Davis Cup final, went into the third day as firm favorite to win the match.

Only five teams have triumphed this century after trailing 2-1, most recently in 1964 when Fred Stolle and Roy Emerson won on the last day to give Australia victory against the United States.

Since 1978, every team that has won the doubles match has gone on to lift the fabled trophy.

Australia's win is especially sweet for Newcombe.

The team nearly withdrew before its quarterfinal against the United States when organizers gave the Americans home advantage to celebrate the event's centenary.

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup