FRANKFURT, February 4, 2017
Belgium takes the lead over Germany in the first round of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie after a five set sizzler in Saturday’s doubles rubber, held at the Fraport Arena. Ruben Bemelmans and Joris de Loore fought past Alexander and Mischa Zverev, winning 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.
The Belgians, who stunned Brazil’s doubles specialists Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo in five sets last year to keep their country in the World Group, hit 55 winners and won 13 points more than their opponents to prevail after three hours and 13 minutes.
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) 4. Februar 2017
“Of course, we felt the tension. We played in front of our home crowd. It’s unique and special and a win would have sealed this perfect day for us,” told Mischa Zverev. “But it was still fun and a good atmosphere in the stadium. I still felt I had moments where I looked up and seeing our names on the scoreboard was a proud moment.”
This was the first tie where both Zverev brothers have been named in the same team.
“After trailing 0-2 it had become very difficult for us to come back, as the Belgians worked well together on court,” Alexander added.
“We showed mental resilience in the fifth set where we raised our game again. It took a while to regain our momentum but we gave it all. We knew we were playing more as a doubles team and we just stepped up our game and pushed ourselves to play at a higher level,” told Bemelmans, who enjoys playing in Germany. The 29-year-old from Genk recently captured his fourth ATP Challenger title on German soil, hoisting the trophy at the inaugural Koblenz Open.
Belgium, the 2015 finalist, is bidding to reach the World Group quarterfinals for just the third time since 1999. In Sunday’s reverse singles rubbers, Alexander Zverev will take on Steve Darcis and Philipp Kohlschreiber will face Arthur de Greef.
Photo Gallery (by Thomas Schulte):