France And Belgium Level At 1-1 After Day 1 Of The Davis Cup Final

Final in Lille between France and Belgium (photo: Davis Cup by BNP Parisbas)

LILLE, November 25, 2017

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Steve Darcis in the second singles rubber to draw France level with Belgium on the opening day of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas final in Lille.

In front of 25,000 fans inside the Stade Pierre Mauroy, the World number 15 was too powerful for Darcis, firing 12 aces to secure a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 victory in one hour and 46 minutes.

“It was important to get back to one-all,” said Tsonga. “It’s never easy when your guy lost the first point, you’re a little bit disappointed for him, for the team, and it’s tough to go on court but today I did a job, that’s most important. It’s one-all now and everything can happen.

“There is still a lot to do,” Tsonga continued. “It’s only one point. We have to stay focussed on our goal, which is to win this tie, and not only win one match.”

Goffin Beats Pouille

Earlier in the day, David Goffin swept aside Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 to give Belgium the opening point.

“He was playing really well at the beginning of the match, but as soon as I broke him in the first set I felt there was something better in my body,” said Goffin. “I felt a lot more relaxed. After that I didn’t miss a lot of balls.”

Nine-time Davis Cup winners France are looking to claim their first Davis Cup since 2001 while Belgium is bidding to win its first Davis Cup title and become the 16th nation to lift the trophy.

Belgium is through to the Davis Cup Final for the second time in three years and just the third time overall. The Belgians reached the title match in 1904 and 2015, losing to British Isles/Great Britain on both occasions.

France has won seven of its last eight home ties. Its only loss in that time came in the 2014 Final when the team fell to Switzerland 3-1.

Doubles Rubber On Saturday

Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert are expected to take on Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans and Joris de Loore in Saturday’s doubles.

Team captains will have the chance to change their line-up until one hour before the start of the match.