France has already sealed its spot in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup by winning the doubles rubber yesterday, but for the German team it was important to end the weekend at Frankfurt’s Fraport Arena in a good and positive way.
Philipp Kohlschreiber’s performance against fellow team number one Gilles Simon would have certainly instilled some confidence into a German team, down 0-3 in a tie, they cannot win and must play a World Group Play-Off in September in order to remain in the top tier of the Davis Cup. The top-ranked German bounced back in the first dead rubber on Sunday to defeat Simon winning 7-6, 6-4 in their best-of-three set clash. The 31-year-old was full of vigour, serving well and bounding about the court to seal victory in 80 minutes.
“I wanted to win the match at all costs. This is what we needed to return to the fans. It was a special match for me,” told Kohlschreiber, who was part of the German team at their first round Davis Cup tie against Spain one year ago. Back then, the Germans led 3-0 after Day 2 and they were not able to find a player participating at the second dead rubber on Sunday, which led to an éclat in Frankfurt, the same venue as this year’s tie against France. “I think that I have also grown personally and in character since then,” the world number 28 added.
Jan-Lennard Struff is a new member of the German Davis Cup team and made a remarkable debut on Friday in the tie’s first rubber against Simon, which he lost in an unlucky way in the fifth set 8-10. The 24-year-old also showed some backbone in the final encounter of the weekend beating French Davis Cup debutant Nicolas Mahut in straight sets 7-6, 6-3 in one hour and 22 minutes to set a concillatory end of a quite disappointing weekend for the Germans.
Even though France lost both of their reverse singles rubbers, the team advanced to the quarterfinals alongside Kazakhstan (3-2 vs Italy), Serbia (5-0 vs Croatia), Australia (3-1 vs Czech Republic), Belgium (3-2 vs Switzerland), Canada (3-2 vs Japan), Argentina (3-2 vs Brazil) and Great Britain (3-1 vs United States). The French Team will have to travel to the British Islands. The stage of the final eight teams will be played from July 17 to July 19. The World Group Play-Offs will take place between September 12 and September 14.