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Australian duo hoping to cause double trouble for US dynamos

Tennis

All the focus has been on Australia’s top two players but Davis Cup doubles duo Sam Groth and John Peers say they’re ready to step up.

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Groth and Peers are eagerly anticipating their Saturday match with all-conquering American pair Mike and Bob Bryan, knowing it could turn the first-round tie.

The US twin brothers boast 16 grand slam titles in 30 years of playing tennis together, dating back to their shared childhood.

Groth, 28, and Peers, 27, have been thrown together this year as Australia looks to find a winning doubles combination to sit alongside the singles stars of Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios.

On paper, it looks promising.

Peers has gathered seven doubles titles in three years, six with Jamie Murray, beating the Bryans in one.

Henri Kontinen of Finland (right) with John Peers of Australia discuss plans during their match against Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, during their third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. The Australian Open tennis tournament will go from the 18th of January until the 31st of January 2016 and is Australia's foremost annual tennis event. (AAP Image/Joe Castro) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Peers, left, partnered with Finland’s Henri Kontinen at the Australian Open. Photo: Joe Castro, AAP.

He made two grand slam doubles finals in 2015, earning a nomination for the John Newcombe Medal won by Groth.

Big-serving Groth showed ability partnering Lleyton Hewitt in Australia’s run to the Cup semi-finals last year.

It was a doubles win in the historic comeback victory in Darwin over Kazakhstan that resuscitated Australia’s hopes last season, and Groth said he’ll call on that experience against the US.

Lleyton Hewitt of Australia (left) celebrates with team mate Sam Groth of Australia after their mens doubles match against Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. The Australian Open tennis tournament will go from the 18th of January until the 31st of January 2016 and is Australia's foremost annual tennis event. (AAP Image/Joe Castro) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Growth and Hewitt celebrate during the match against Peers and Kontinen. Photo: Joe Castro, AAP.

“I’ve played a bunch of ties, a lot of big ties and a lot of big matches,” he said.

“It’s hard to draw on an experience if you haven’t done it… now I’ve been in that situation and played a big tie at home at Darwin.

“To have the home crowd playing here in Melbourne on probably my favourite surface, it definitely gives me a lot of confidence.”

Groth could yet be called upon to play singles.

Bernard Tomic presented at Kooyong to hit up despite a troubling wrist complaint but in-form Nick Kyrgios is yet to be sighted after adding a virus to his hip injury.

The world No.77 has only one of seven singles hit-outs this season but backed himself to do whatever is needed.

“In the last few weeks I’ve lost five in the third, six in the third, (7-)6 and (7-)6,” Groth said.

“But I’m doing all the right things, I’m practising well and I’m fit… if I keep doing all the right things my time will come.”

Peers is no stranger to the historic setting at Kooyong, being brought up on the famous courts.

He said it didn’t lose its inspirational value.

“It’s always great to get back to Kooyong,” he said.

“It’s a special place, the home of tennis… all you’ve got to do is walk in the front door and see all the memorabilia from past years.”

-AAP

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