FRANKFURT, February 5, 2017
What a weekend for Steve Darcis in Frankfurt, as Belgium’s Mr. Davis Cup sends his country into the quarterfinal of the international team event. After winning the opening clash with Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday, Darcis defeated Alexander Zvererv 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 on Sunday in the decisive reverse singles rubber.
In front of 4,400 spectators inside a packed Fraport Arena, the German teenager saved three match points to try to keep the tie alive for Germany in the tie-break of the final set, but the World No. 58 from Liege was wide awake at crunch time. On match point number four, Zverev sent over a risky lob which drifted long and the Belgian team started celebrations after three hours and two minutes.
“You never know in Davis Cup. We said it would an easy match for Germany. That’s why we love the Davis Cup as we have surprises and we had one today. The difference between us and them is that we are really a team – they have so many great players but we play with the heart, for our country and for the people here,” Darcis told afterwards.
Belgium has reached the World Group quarterfinals for just the third time since 1999, awaiting the winner of the tie between Argentina and Italy. Germany has to compete in the Play-Offs from 15 to 17 September 2017. The draw will be made on 11 April.
“We came as big underdogs, but we came to fight and had an ‘over my dead body’ attitude,” Belgium captain Johan van Herck said. “Let’s see who we play next. We are a real team and we will be difficult to beat. We can dream but we must now do it again.”
In the final dead rubber, Ruben Bemelmans cruised past Mischa Zverev, winning 7-5, 6-1 in only 50 minutes.
“This was a disillusioning weekend for us. We did not expect to lose the tie 1-4, as we were in good shape and we felt like being the favourite. Unfortunately, we were not able to transfer it into a good result. Belgium with an outstanding Steve Darcis eventually deserved to win,” Germany’s Davis Cup captain Michael Kohlmann told.
Photo Gallery (by Thomas Schulte):