To say that the first day of Davis Cup was eventful is an understatement, offering us roller-coaster rides, surprising wins, and so much emotion!
Let’s recap, in two parts, the day’s action.
Japan 1 – Canada 1
If logic prevailed in the first match, where Japan’s number one player, Kei Nishikori, came back from 2-4 in the first set to defeat Peter Polansky 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, the same cannot be said for the second rubber, in which Frank Dancevic, again, pulled a stunning performance to have the better of Go Soeda 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-1.
Needless to say that this match played by “Frank the Tank” was very reminiscent of those he played against Spain at the same time last year.
Dancevic might come back as early as tonight, as it is unlikely that Vasek Pospisil will be in for the doubles rubber alongside Daniel Nestor, as reported by Sportsnet (the Canadian broadcaster of the tie) and Tom Tebbutt. Can “Miracle Frank” continue on this amazing Davis Cup run for Canada?
Kazakhstan 2 – Belgium 0
It came very close to another 1-1 in Astana, as David Goffin came within mere points of clinching the second rubber after Mikhail Kukushkin had given the locals a 1-0 lead with a four-set win over Ruben Bemelmans.
In fact, Belgium’s number one player had five match points in the fifth set of his encounter against Andrey Golubev, but was unable to convert any of them.
In the end, Golubev broke, then held to give Kazakhstan a 2-0 lead with a 7-6(9), 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 12-10 triumph in 4h38 of play. The road back will be tough for Belgium if they want to recover from this first day…
Serbia 0 – Switzerland 2
Roger Federer is back on the Swiss team and it proved fruitful as the Swiss left the Novi Sad Spens Sport Centre with a 2-0 lead and the tie almost wrapped-up against a perhaps weakened Serbia, but one that will fall fighting.
Federer had the better of Ilija Bozoljac 6-4, 7-5, 6-2, without too many problems except in the second set, where he quickly fell down a break, but recovered as Bozoljac was attempting to serve it out at 5-3.
As for Wawrinka, he had to fight a very feisty Dusan Lajovic as well as his own exhaustion to prevail 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(7). It was difficult for the Australian Open champion, especially near the end of the fourth-set tiebreak, when he started to cramp in his racquet hand.
In the end, the World n°3 closed the match on a missed overhead from his young rival who, despite the defeat, really impressed with the quality of his serve but, most of all, his fighting spirit.
Switzerland will try to end it in the doubles rubber, tomorrow.
Czech Republic 1 – Netherlands 1
As far as surprises go, the first rubber of the tie between Czech Republic and the Netherlands will be a difficult one to beat on this opening day. With Radek Stepanek up two sets to one over Robin Haase, it seemed like the first point of the tie was in the bag.
Robin Haase came back and took the last two sets, and the match, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1, to the general surprise.
It was a more straightforward affair for Tomas Berdych, who quickly ended the day with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over Igor Sijsling to level the tie at one match apiece.
If Stepanek is still having neck issues, it is to wonder whether we will see him in the doubles rubber for the defending champions, tomorrow.