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|Alexander Zverev of Germany reacts after a point against Alex De Minaur of Australia during their men's singles tennis match in the Davis Cup World Group tie at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane on Feb 2, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Patrick Hamilton)|
Zverev was forced to fight every step of the way before seeing off the challenge of the 18-year-old de Minaur 7-5, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) on Pat Rafter Arena.
The world number five had looked down and out when de Minaur, playing superb defensive tennis, took a two sets to love lead.
But Zverev fought back to win the fourth set before recovering from an early break in the fifth to force a tiebreak.
He then created a mini-break at 3-4 in the tiebreak and served superbly to take the match and give his country the early advantage.
Zverev, 20, has had a disappointing Davis Cup record, with one win and four losses before Friday's match.
Considered one of the rising stars of the men's game, he also has a poor Grand Slam record and fell in the third round of the Australian Open.
But he said he taken heart from eventual champion Roger Federer, who spoke to him after his loss in Melbourne and told him to keep working hard and success would come.
Nick Kyrgios will take on Jan-Lennard Struff in the second singles.