By Ros Satar
- David Goffin v Kyle Edmund – H2H: First Meeting
- Ruben Bemelmans v Andy Murray – H2H: First Meeting
GHENT, BELGIUM – It all comes down to this as the 2015 Davis Cup Final kicks off with two first time meetings: David Goffin starts against Kyle Edmund making his debut, followed by Ruben Bemelmans v Andy Murray.
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
David Goffin v Kyle Edmund – H2H: First Meeting
All eyes will be on the young Brit, as he not only makes his debut in the Davis Cup but in the final no less and the first match of the day. Of course there is no way of knowing how the nerves and the anticipation of the big moment will affect an otherwise very well grounded young man, but he seemed to be ready to take it all in his stride.
After the draw, Edmund said: “It’s my first match of the Davis Cup for my country. It’s exciting itself, the fact it’s a final. At the same time it’s a team event and the team comes first. My job is to give my best and give my all. The ultimate goal is obviously to put the point on the board for Great Britain.”
It certainly ended a period of intense discussion amongst hardened Davis Cup fans as to whether Aegon GB Team Captain Leon Smith would choose the 20-year-old over the more experienced James Ward.
Smith said: “I think that it was always going to be a difficult decision who started the weekend. The good thing that coincided with this tie was that the number two singles players had all come into good form. James won a challenger in India, Kyle had won a challenger in South America.
“It was actually a really good situation to be in. I think where Kyle’s ranking sits now, and he’s very comfortable on this surface, is why we’re starting that way. But still a very difficult decision.”
In terms of career wins, Edmund trumps everyone out in the park with 72.97, rounding out Smith’s assertion of his familiarity and suitability on the surface, but Goffin lifted his first two titles in 2014, including Kitzbuhel on the clay.
Edmund’s successes on the clay have been largely at the Futures level winning four berween 2012 and 2014, and adding to that the Copa Fila Challenger title in November.
Of course it is a huge ask for Edmund to get Britain on the board, but he is absolutely the right pick given his ranking and his latest form on the clay, if nothing else to try and keep Goffin out there for as long as possible.
Ruben Bemelmans v Andy Murray – H2H: First Meeting
Just as it is a huge ask for Edmund to become the first player to win a live doubles rubber on his debut, Bemelmans comes in over the perhaps match-unfit Steve Darcis to take on the World No. 2.
Bemelmans enjoyed a career high earlier this year of 84 but has just slipped back out of the World 100 as the year closes, and like Murray, his last outing on the dirt was at Roland Garros.
He certainly is capable of troubling players higher up the pecking order than him, and enjoyed a decent run at the US Open, beating Gilles Muller and getting the better of a heat-stroke-sufering Jack Sock before bowing out to Stan Wawrinka, but Murray is at least aware of his weapons, after watching that match.
He said: “I saw him play at the US Open a bit. I saw some of his match against Wawrinka. I watched some videos of him playing in the Davis Cup before. I know his game a bit, but actually I don’t know the Belgian players that well because I’ve never played against any of them except Goffin, and I only played him one time.”
With Murray basically expected to win all three of his rubbers, he will want to make this quick. A start like the lightening fast one against Donald Young in the first round would be good, but beware the easy start – Young took advantage of a lapse in concentration to take a set off the Brit, and Bemelmans may look to prolong Murray’s time out on court.
Many will remember the sheer level of fatigue from Murray after Wimbledon, when they beat the French. At times he looked completely dead on his feet, but is hopeful that he is more prepared this time around, World Tour Finals notwithstanding.
“The match after Wimbledon was really hard for me, the match against France I found very tough. That came on the back of obviously the French Open, Queen’s and Wimbledon, which for me is a very stressful time of year.
“Then obviously the match against France, you know, they were quite draining matches. Even the doubles and the singles on the Sunday, it was tough. Now I think I should be fine here.”
In all reality we should hope to be 1-1 at the end of the first day, and that the crowd that have been lucky enough to get tickets, and made it out here regardless of the security issues will give it all they’ve got.
Goffin v Edmund starts at 1:30pm (12:30 GMT) on Friday, followed by Bemelmans v Murray.
Main Image Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty
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