Goffin Goes For Glory With Belgium
Belgium looks to upset France in Davis Cup final
Fresh off his run to the championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he defeated both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, David Goffin will look to lead Belgium to a historic Davis Cup victory this weekend against France in Lille.
Up to a career-high No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after his impressive run at The O2 last week, the 26-year-old Goffin will look to inspire his nation to a first Davis Cup title. Belgium finished runner-up in 1904 and more recently in 2015, when it was beaten on home soil by an Andy Murray-led Great Britain.
But the duo faces a tough task in France, represented by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Lucas Pouille, Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and in front of a partisan 27,500-capacity crowd at the Stade Pierre Mauroy. The French fans will be out in force to see their team attempt to clinch the ITF men’s team trophy for the 10th time.
France is looking to reclaim the Davis Cup crown for the first time since 2001, having fallen in the final in 2014 (l. to Switzerland), 2010 (l. to Serbia) and 2002 (l. to Russia).
Pouille will open the tie for the host nation when he faces his good friend Goffin, before Tsonga takes on Darcis in the second of Friday’s singles rubbers.
“We’re friends and I’m sure we’ll be friends after the match as well,” Goffin said. “I’ve never beaten Lucas so I will try to find a solution to find my best tennis.
“I’m happy to start the first match again,” Goffin added. “I spoke with Steve beforehand and he preferred that I start and he played second. It won’t be easy, two years ago I played first in the final and I was tired. This time I will try to be a little more relaxed and play as good match as I can from the start.”
Gasquet steps in to replace Mahut alongside Herbert in the doubles for France on Saturday. They will face Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore, who is returning from knee surgery in September. “I haven’t played any tournaments since the operation (after the US Open), but I’ve worked hard and practice is going well,” said World No. 276 De Loore. “My knee feels 100 per cent and I feel 100 per cent going into this weekend.”
The reverse singles could decide proceedings on Sunday.