Monday, September 18, 2017

France to Face Belgium in Davis Cup Final


I've never been a huge Davis Cup fan -- probably wouldn't surprise you to know that I'm still recovering John McEnroe's six-hour, 32-minute  (9-7, 6-2, 15-17, 3-6, 8-6) victory over Mats Wilander in the 1982 U.S. vs. Sweden quarterfinals (of course I was rooting for Sweden!). But it did help me get into it again when my friend Greg and I went to see the U.S. take on Switzerland 27 years later in Birmingham, Ala. (That's when I first discovered Stan Wawrinka's ass.)


So I was happy to see that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga provided the heroics on Sunday afternoon in Lille, giving France an unassailable 3-1 lead in their Davis Cup semifinal tie against Serbia. The ATP reports that the French No. 1 rallied past Dusan Lajovic 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-2, claiming his 20th singles victory in his Davis Cup career. Lajovic had stunned Lucas Pouille to open the tie on Friday, but was unable to replicate the upset. Tsonga prevailed after two hours and 48 minutes, firing 38 winners including eight aces. It was sweet revenge for Les Bleus, who were defeated by Serbia in the 2010 final. Under the captaincy of Yannick Noah, the French squad will appear in its first final since 2014. They will bid for a 10th title against Belgium with a home tie in the final. The French team will be looking to end a 16-year title drought, having most recently prevailed over Australia in the 2001 final, followed by runner-up finishes in 2002, 2010 and 2014.


Australia's hopes of reaching a first Davis Cup final in 14 years were shattered on Sunday when Belgium fought back from an overnight deficit to win their semi-final 3-2 and set-up a title showdown with neighbours France. Steve Darcis, the 33-year-old world number 77, held his nerve in the deciding rubber in Brussels, coasting to a 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Jordan Thompson, a last-minute call-up by Australia skipper Lleyton Hewitt to replace John Millman. David Goffin had levelled the semi-final earlier on Sunday by coming back to defeat Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, claiming his 15th win in 16 Davis Cup singles rubbers.

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