France will meet Belgium in the final of the 2017 Davis Cup after both countries tasted victory in their semi-final clashes Sunday.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was the match-winner for France, coming back from a set down to beat Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 3-1 in the first of the reverse singles to seal their place in the final.
Belgium’s clash with Australia was a tighter affair with David Goffin beating Nick Kyrgios to level the tie at 2-2 ahead of the final rubber between Steve Darcis and Jordan Thompson.
Darcis completed the win, seeing off Thompson in straight sets, to complete a superb comeback from Belgium.
Belgium 3-2 Australia
France 3-1 Serbia
France took a 2-1 lead into Sunday’s action with Tsonga knowing victory would give his country an unassailable lead and book its place in the final.
However, the 32-year-old was overpowered by Lajovic in the first set, going down 6-2 as Serbia got off to a great start, as noted by Live Tennis:
Tsonga was quick to regroup and came back strongly, storming into a 4-1 lead in the second set before taking it 6-2 to level the match.
The third set was a far tighter affair, going all the way to a tie-break, which Tsonga took 7-5 to move into a 2-1 lead.
From there, Tsonga did not look back, coasting to a 6-2 win in the fourth and his delight at reaching the final was evident, as captured by the Davis Cup’s official Twitter account:
Belgium went into Sunday trailing 2-1 but forced the tie into a deciding rubber after Goffin beat Kyrgios in a thrilling encounter.
The Belgian had never previously beaten his opponent and after losing the first set on a tiebreak looked set to extend that record.
However, Goffin responded brilliantly, breaking in the opening game of the second set with his first break point of the match.
The Belgian then held serve throughout the rest of the set to take it 6-4, as noted by Live Tennis:
A combination of superb serving and powerful play saw Goffin take the third set 6-4 in a superb atmosphere.
The home fans were clearly spurring Goffin on, yet Kyrgios also took inspiration from a strong Australian following, as noted by the Davis Cup:
The fourth set began with both players holding serve until Goffin managed to break at 3-3.
However, Kyrgios hit straight back to level it up at 4-4 as the atmosphere really started to hot up.
But Goffin was not to be denied, forcing another break point from which Kyrgios double-faulted to allow the Belgian to serve for the match.
The 26-year-old made no mistake serving out to take the fourth set 6-4 and ensure the match would go all the way to a deciding rubber, as shown by BBC Sport:
John Millman had been expected to play the final singles match for Australia, but captain Lleyton Hewitt opted for Thompson, unbeaten in his three Davis Cup rubbers in his career.
It was a move that did not pay off, however, Darcis breaking early in the first set to take a 3-1 lead before wrapping it up 6-4.
Things got even worse for Thompson at the start of the second set, a double-fault gifting Darcis an early break though he showed real determination to break straight back.
There was also plenty of quality tennis on offer, the two men engaging in a mammoth rally early in the second set which delighted the crowd, as shown by the Davis Cup:
A couple of Thompson errors at 5-5 then helped hand the set to Darcis, a double-fault followed by an unforced error gave the Belgian the break, and he served out to take the second set 7-5.
Australia's hopes were fading fast, and Darcis clinched an early break in the third to move 2-1 up before breaking again for 4-1 with a superb forehand winner.
Thompson held to make it 5-2 and forced Darcis to serve it out, and he duly obliged, showing no nerves at all, and winning it with a backhand volley that trickled over the net, sparking wild celebrations.
The win sealed a fine comeback for Belgium, who will now head to France to contest the final in November.