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Tennis Results – Goffin, Darcis Lead Belgium Past Australia, France also advances to Davis Cup Final

 

By Ricky Dimon

To the surprise of no one, the Belgium vs. Australia Davis Cup semifinal tie went down to the wire on Sunday afternoon. Even less surprisingly, Steve Darcis played the role of hero–or at least one of the roles of heroes.

epa06210235 Belgian Tennis Player David Goffin in action during the third single match of the Davis Cup World Group semifinal between Belgium and Australia, in Brussels, Belgium, 17 September 2017. EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Darcis and David Goffin won singles matches on the clay court of Brussels to lead the host nation past Australia and into the 2017 World Group final against France. After an incredible performance by Goffin in a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Nick Kyrgios, Darcis took care of Jordan Thompson 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 in the deciding fifth rubber.

Following a split of the first two rubbers on Friday and a doubles win for the visitors, Goffin needed to get the best of a massive matchup with Kyrgios in order to keep the Belgians alive. Say the world No. 12 delivered in an exercise in the understatement. In the serving performance of his career, Goffin blasted 20 aces without double-faulting a single time and he recorded 39 winners to just 24 unforced errors.

“This was probably the best match I’ve ever played in Davis Cup,” Goffin assessed. “The serve was the key today. It was probably the best match I’ve served in my career. So many aces, high first serve percentage, and to finish in the last game with two or three aces….”

“It was too good by him today,” Kyrgios conceded. “He was too good. He played better as a whole. He served unbelievably today. When he’s playing at that level, he’s one of the best in the world.”

epa06207132 Belgian tennis player Steve Darcis in action during the second single match of the Davis Cup World Group semifinal between Belgium and Australia, in Brussels, Belgium, 15 September 2017. EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Darcis has never been near the top of the world rankings like his more heralded compatriot, but he is nothing short of a Davis Cup master. The 77th-ranked veteran has now won 24 matches–23 in singles–during his illustrious career in this competition (compared to just eight losses). He also won the fifth rubber in the 2015 semis against Argentina and in this season’s first round he helped Belgium defeat Germany by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber and Alexander Zverev. Darcis, who extended Kyrgios to five sets on Friday, had no trouble disposing of Thompson in two hours and 22 minutes for the clincher against the Aussies.

“It’s the final we all dream about,” the 33-year-old said of the upcoming Belgium vs. France contest. “We were speaking [with the French players] about this a few weeks ago and we said it would be so good if we could play against you guys, and I think they feel the same. It’s going to be amazing for us to be again in the final, hopefully this time we can take it home.”

The Frenchmen got the job done at home against a Serbian team that was without Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki, and Janko Tipsarevic. France led 2-1 following two days of tennis before Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sealed the deal with a 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-2 victory over Dusan Lajovic.

“I’m feeling good,” Tsonga said. “It’s unbelievable for my team. I mean, it’s great to take your country and put them on top of the world.”

Well, close to the top. Belgium may have something to say about that.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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