Hewitt's emotional message to devastated Aussies

 

Lleyton Hewitt believes his youthful Davis Cup team will bounce back from the bitter experience of this weekend's 3-2 semi-final loss to Belgium.

Leading 2-1 after two days of play, Hewitt was hugely confident of booking a first final appearance in 14 years going into Sunday's reverse singles rubbers.

However, inspired by David Goffin's magnificent display in defeating Nick Kyrgios in four sets, Steve Darcis brushed aside a shellshocked Jordan Thompson 6-4 7-5 6-2 in the decider to the delight a delirious home crowd at the Palais 12 Arena in Brussels.

"It's disappointing, but I've told the boys, if it hurts it's because it means something," Hewitt said.

"These boys take a lot of pride wearing the green and gold and will bounce back.

"A lot of these boys haven't played in Davis Cup ties away from home. It is different. It's tough. Especially in semis and finals. They'll be better for the run."

Thompson tasted defeat for the first time in four rubbers in Australian colours after being ushered in for the decider at the expense of John Millman, just 10 minutes before the start of his match.

Despite insisting on Saturday the Queenslander would and deserved to play after his spirited effort in defeat against Goffin on Friday, Hewitt said 24 hours later the plan was always to play Thompson in a decider.

Millman was only named in the team on Thursday in place of Thanasi Kokkinakis, with the skipper and his coaching team believing he had a better chance of keeping Goffin on court for a sustained period of time in that opening rubber.

But Hewitt conceded Goffin and Darcis were simply too good on the day and said he had no regrets about the decisions he made.

Thompson was a late in for Millman but he had no answers for Darcis. Pic: Getty

"It was always going to be the case for a long time (to play Thompson), so nothing in our plans changed," Hewitt said.

"You come here to get the result. It's a bit raw at the moment.

"I am extremely proud of all of the boys, all the team members.

"Everyone gave 100 per cent. We left it all out there. But that doesn't make it hurt any less."

Kyrgios went toe-to-toe with Goffin in an absorbing encounter but simply had no answer to the inspired play of the world No.12 who won 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 6-4 6-4 to claim his 15th win in the last 16 singles rubbers.

"Nick didn't play poorly," Hewitt said.

"Goffin got better and better as the match went on and he was seeing the ball pretty big in the third and fourth sets which is pretty tough on those kind of courts."

Darcis proved to be Australia's Davis Cup nemesis yet again in a deciding rubber after beating Carsten Ball in Cairns seven years ago to relegate the 28-time winners from the World Group.

The wily world No.77 took out the first set in 40 minutes and fought magnificently to win the second - staving off a set point with an ace after earlier holding serve following a titanic 49-shot rally.

He then broke Thompson twice early in the third and cruised to victory.

Thompson denied the noisy home crowd had any significance of his defeat.

"He just played better than me," he said.

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