Stand-in Martin Fischer earned visiting Austria a place in next year's Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group after securing the decisive rubber against Israel in Tel Aviv on Sunday, beating a tiring Harel Levy 26 63 60 62.
The Austrians go into the hat for the draw for next year's World Group in Brussels on September 22 while Israel are relegated to zonal competition.
Levy got off to a bright start and broke Fischer twice in the opening set as he looked to be cruising but it was a false high for the home crowd because once Fischer found his range, he pushed Levy out wide and killed off the points with unreachable baseline shots, particularly on his forehand.
As the match progressed it grew ever more one-sided in favour of Fischer with Levy unable to find any penetration against the Austrian, whose ability improved as the match progressed.
In Sunday's opening reverse singles rubber Jurgen Melzer pulled Austria level to 2-2 by beating Dudi Sela in straight sets, 64 60 63.
Memorable debut for Fischer
An elated Fischer said he could not believe his good fortune in his debut in the competition. "I knew it was going to be tough, this was my first game in the Davis Cup, I knew I was good enough to beat Harel, I just played my game and even though the crowd was very loud I made myself think that they were screaming for me," Fischer said.
Levy was magnanimous in defeat and gave credit to his opponent. "Fischer played amazingly, he was fantastic in his first Davis Cup rubber, Austria are worthy of being in the World Group," he said, adding that he would not be able to sleep at night, going through and analysing each point and where he went wrong.
The Sela-Melzer match began with a very close, high-quality set with some thrilling baseline hitting as both players went for winners and successfully punished anything short. Each player held serve until the ninth game when Melzer's superior abilities - at No. 13 in the world compared to Sela's 85 - earned him the break.
Melzer too good for Sela
It was a case of the Austrian being able to step up the tempo just enough to eke out the odd point which made the difference. Not even a momentary disturbance in a court invasion by two animal rights protesters upset the rhythm of the match as both players applied themselves to the task at hand.
But once Melzer secured the set it was all over for Sela who capitulated tamely, going down without winning a game in the second set which marked a total of eight successive games lost. It also quelled the boisterous crowd as they realised that their adoration of Sela could not make up for the difference in ability between the players.
There was only a little more resistance in the third set from the Israeli No. 1 but he still appeared unable to find any more power or consistency with which to dent his Austrian opponent's defences.
"It was very important for me to win that first set, he had a lot of break chances but somehow I got my head out of there and then breaking early and giving him the bagel in the second set it gave me much more confidence," Melzer said.