By Jake Davies

  • Belgium and France are level at 1-1 after Day 1 of the Davis Cup Final in Lille
  • David Goffin defeats Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-3, 6-1
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeats Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-2, 6-1
LILLE, FRANCE – The Davis Cup final between Belgium and France is locked at a match apiece as the pivotal doubles match is on the cards.

 

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David Goffin defeats Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-3, 6-1

Confidence is a valuable thing in top level sport, but it is even more crucial in an individual sport like tennis, where the individual has to make their own decisions and find solutions on the court. Not many players have as much confidence as Belgium’s David Goffin, who continued his sensational end to the season as he demolished Lucas Pouille in the opening rubber of the Davis Cup final.

The Belgian No.1 enjoyed unbelievable success at the World Tour Finals as a debutant, beating both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal en route to his biggest final to date.

The first set was decided by small percentages. Goffin played better on the key points in the key moments and handled the occasion of the Davis Cup final much better than his opponent. You have to remember that Goffin has played a Davis Cup final in the past, while Pouille is incredibly inexperienced in comparison to Goffin.

The World No.7 broke late into the first set and did not look back and did not put a foot wrong as he strolled through a difficult opponent in straight-sets.

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeats Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-2, 6-1

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Davis Cup final between France and Belgium, 2017

Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock | Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Davis Cup final between France and Belgium, 2017

It cannot be stressed enough at how big this weekend is for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Davis Cup title is something that is missing from his trophy cabinet and he would be desperate to put that right. This trophy has eluded France for 16 years and Tsonga will be hoping that he is that man that can guide his nation to glory.

The 2008 Australian Open finalist looked in incredible form in his straight-sets triumph over Steve Darcis. Darcis has had unbelievable success for his country this season and beating some very good players and has played his part in Belgium making their second Davis Cup final in three years. The match-up was a tough one for the Belgian No.2 to overcome. Players that have had success over Tsonga in recent years are the players that can really penetrate through the court and put Tsonga on the back foot, but Darcis was unable to do that with enough regularity.

Darcis likes to utilise the backhand slice, but that played into the Frenchman’s hands. It gave Tsonga the time to execute his volleys with greater ease, it gave him more time to set up his shots from the baseline and it also enabled him to run around his backhand and get his fearsome forehand into play. The straight-sets win was a must for France as it gives Yannick Noah the option of playing his No.1 player in the doubles rubber on Saturday, which could be the crucial rubber in this tie.

Play continues with the doubles at 2pm (1pm GMT).

 

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