DAVIS CUP FINALS TAKE SHAPE AFTER QUALIFIERS



There were no ATP Tour level events to speak of as Davis Cup fever took over the men's game last week.


Twenty-four nations took to the courts in the Davis Cup Qualifiers, with 12 now advancing to the finals group stage to be held in September.


Australia v Hungary (3-2)


Australia booked their ticket to the finals after securing a nail-biting comeback victory against Hungary at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney.


Things got nervy for the Australians the following day when the heavily favoured pairing of John Peers and Luke Saville were defeated by Fabian Marozsan and Mate Valkusz, giving Hungary a 2-1 lead.


Yet, as he so often does for his country, Alex de Minaur left everything on the court to defeat Marton Fucsovics 7-6(4), 6-4 in the first reverse singles match to send the tie to a deciding rubber.


Then, with the whole country behind him, Kokkinakis blitzed his way through the final match and defeated Zsombor Piros 6-4, 6-4 in front of a fired-up Sydney crowd.





Slovakia v Italy (2-3)


Italy advanced to the finals of the Davis Cup after surviving a scare from Slovakia in Bratislava. Without their top-ranked player in Matteo Berrettini, the job was left to Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego for the opening two ties.


However, In the decider, Italy swung a change and brought in 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti to make his Davis Cup debut- no pressure, right?


Musetti made himself the hero after defeating Norbert Gombos 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-4 to send his nation back to the Davis Cup Finals.





Sweden v Japan (3-2)


Elias Ymer was the hero for Sweden as they won a dramatic encounter with Japan in Helsingborg. The tie went down to the wire after Japan’s Taro Daniel sent it to a fifth rubber following a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Dargos Nicolae Madaras.


With the tie in the balance at 2-2 after an intense doubles match earlier, Ymer (who was filling the No. 1 role for injured younger brother Mikael) stepped back out on court for his third match of the tie and defeated Yosuke Watanuki 6-3, 6-3 - sending the home crowd wild.





Finland v Belgium (2-3)


Belgium are through to the Davis Cup Finals following a dramatic come cvrom behind victory against Finland away from home in Espoo.


Finland were leading 2-1 after Harri Heliovaara and Emil Ruusuvuori saved two match points on their way to a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(5) against Sander Gille and David Goffin. The Belgians sent the tie to a deciding rubber after Goffin defeated Ruusuvuori in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. Enter Zizou Bergs.


The young Belgian enjoyed the finest moment in his career by rescuing his country when they needed it, winning his encounter with Otto Virtanen 6-4, 6-0 and sending Belgium to the finals in the process.





Spain v Romania (3-1)


Six-time Davis Cup champions Spain are on their way to the finals yet again after a solid 3-1 victory over Romania in Marbella.


The heavily favoured Spaniards got the job done thanks to singles victories for Roberto Bautista Agut (6-3, 6-1 over Gabi Adrian Boitan) and Carloz Alcaraz (6-4, 6-3 over Marius Copil) to give them a 2-0 lead.


The Romanians fought back in the doubles with a hasght-sets sets victory before Bautista Agut shut the door on a comeback, defeating Copil 6-2, 6-3 to secure the tie.






Brazil v Germany (1-3)


Germany have put themselves in the mix to win their first Davis Cup since 1993 after defeating Brazil 3-1 away from home to qualify for the finals.


The tie was a bit trickier than Germany would have anticipated after Jan Lennard Struff fell to world No. 114 Thiago Monteiro in three sets to square the tie at 1-1. Then, the undefeated duo of Tim Puetz and Kevin Kraweietz put the tie in Germany’s favour by holding on to win a tough thre setter against Bruno Soares and Meligeni Rodrigues Alves 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4.


World No. 3 Alex Zverev finished Brazil off with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Monteiro.





Norway v Kazakhstan (1-3)


Kazakhstan found their way through to the Davis Cup Finals for a third year in a row after winning a tricky encounter against Norway in Oslo thanks to their No. 1 man, Alexander Bublik.


The world No. 32 won both of his singles matches, including a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over world No. 8 Casper Ruud to seal the deal against the Norwegians. It was the first time in four matches that Bublik has been able to defeat Ruud.

Earlier, Alexsandr Nedovyesov and Andrey Golubev gave Kazakhstan the advantage after defeating Viktor Durasovic and Simen Bratholm 7-6(10, 6-3 in the doubles.





Korea Republic v Austria (3-1)


The Korea Republic made history by making the finals of the Davis Cup for the first time ever following a win over Austria in Seoul.


World No. 65 Soonwoo Kwon was the hero for the home side as he defeated Denis Novak and Juij Rodionov in both of his singles matches. Not to be outdone, doubles pairing Jisung Nam and Minkyu Song secured an important victory over their more fancied opponents Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler.





Netherlands v Canada (4-0)


The Netherlands made light work of an understrength Canadian outfit to advance to the Davis Cup Finals in front of a noisy home crowd at The Hague.


Dutch No. 1 Botic Van de Zandschlup kicked things off with a victory over a spirited Alexis Galarneau before Tallon Greikspoor made it 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Steven Diez.


The experienced doubles pairing of Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop put the tie beyond doubt when they defeated Brayden Schnur and Peter Polansky 7-5, 6-3. Finishing off in style was veteran Robin Haase, who defeated Diez 6-1, 6-2 to complete the qualifying victory for the Netherlands.





USA V Colombia (4-0)


The most successful nation in Davis Cup history has once again found themselves in the finals after easily accounting for Colombia in Reno, Nevada.


The USA gave their whole roster a run in what was a dominant display from start to finish.


Next Gen talent Sebastian Korda made his debut while the rapidly improving Taylor Fritz had an emphatic win. With the tie beyond Colombia’s reach, Tommy Paul got a run and impressed in a straight-sets victory.





France v Ecuador (4-0)


Ten-time Davis Cup champions France are aiming to win their first title since 2017 after qualifying for the finals with a comfortable win against Ecuador in Pau.


Arthur Rinderknech gave France an early advantage by defeating Emilio Gomez 6-2, 7-5 before Adrian Mannarino defeated Roberto Quiroz 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.


Experienced doubles duo Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut sealed the deal for France when they defeated Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo 6-3, 7-5.


Benjamin Bonzi made it a clean sweep with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Antonio Cayetano March.





Argentina v Czech Republic (4-0)


Argentina are through to the finals of the Davis Cup after easily accounting for the Czech Republic in Buenos Aires. It will give the nation the chance to win its first Davis Cup since the historical 2016 campaign led by the recently retired Juan Martin Del Potro.


The Argentines skipped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to victories from Sebastian Baez (7-6(4), 6-3 over Jiri Lehecka) and Diego Schwartzman (2-6, 6-2, 6-2 over Tomas Machac).


Then, Maximo Gonzalez and Horacio Zeballoas put the tie beyond the reach oif the Czechs with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Lehecka and Machac.