HAMBURG, September 16, 2022 (by Dietmar Kaspar)
Germany secured their place in the Final 8 of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals with a 2-1 victory over Belgium in Group C on Friday.
Both team captains, Michael Kohlmann of hosts Germany and Belgian Johan van Herck, chose the same line-ups as they did in their opening ties.
Struff prevails with lucky end
Jan-Lennard Struff represented Germany in the clash of the No. 2 players against Zizou Bergs from Belgium. At the beginning of the match, both players struggled on their service games with five consecutive breaks. At the score of 5-3, World No. 132 Struff missed three set points at the serve of his 23-year-old opponent but finished the opening set with his own service game. The second set went on without any breaks. Bergs, ranked World No. 132, could not capitalize on seven set points, so Warstein-born Struff converted himself his third match point in the tie-break to claim a 6-4, 7-6(9) win after two hours and five minutes.
“In the tie against France I was the underdog, because Benjamin (Bonzi) was the higher ranked player,” said Struff. “Zizou and I have similar ranking positions, but people expected me to win, as I am the more experiencied player on the tour. The conditions on court were very slow due to the cold weather, so this was the reason for the problems in holding our serves at the beginning of the match. It was a tough battle and Zizou played really good and aggressive. I knew if I slow down only one per cent, I will lose the match. At the end I was a little bit more lucky than him, so I am happy that I could close it out in straight sets.”
Goffin saves match points against Otte
In the match of the two top-ranked players, German Oscar Otte challenged former World No. 7 David Goffin. The Cologne native gained one break more in the opening set to take the lead. In the second set without any breaks, Goffin, 31, saved two match points in the tie-break to push the match the distance. The Rocourt-born earned the only two breaks in the deciding set without facing a break-point to succeed 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-3 in two hours and eight minutes.
“The win today was very important, otherwise we were out of the competition,” said World No. 62 Goffin. “I had to fight until the end, saving match points in the second set. It was much better in the third set, gaining two breaks and holding my serve easier. My tennis is still there, but I have to believe in my game and be confident.”
German doubles team remain unbeaten
Unbeaten tandem Kevin Krawietz and Tim Pütz eventually secured the tie for Germany in the doubles rubber against Joran Vliegen and Sander Gille. After losing the first set, the German duo fought back to reach the third set, in which both teams did not face a break point. Krawietz and Puetz continued their great run of form and turned a 2-5 deficit in the tie-break to a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) victory after two hours and 17 minutes.
🇩🇪An EPIC all day battle ⚔️
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) September 16, 2022
“I am very delighted about our win today,” said Kohlmann. “After qualifying for the final in Madrid last season it was our goal to go for Malaga this year, because it was a big chance to play the group stage in front of our home crowd. We had a couple of injuries and question marks about the line-up ahead of this event, so I am very proud of my team that we went already through this and have a match for winning the group on Sunday against Australia.”
Australia’s progression to the knock-out stage of the competition in Malaga has also been confirmed.
Group stage action will continue tomorrow with the two eliminated nations when France takes on Belgium. Play at the Rothenbaum Tennis Stadium will start at 2 p.m. CET.
Germany – Belgium 2-1
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) – Zizou Bergs (BEL) 6-4, 7-6 (9)
Oscar Otte (GER) – David Goffin (BEL) 6-3, 6-7 (7), 3-6
Kevin Krawietz/Tim Puetz (GER) – Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5)