By Ros Satar
- Great Britain beat Belgium to win the Davis Cup Final 3-1
- Andy Murray defeated David Goffin in the first reverse singles rubber 6-3 7-5 6-3
GHENT, BELGIUM – Great Britain won the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years, taking their total to 10 in the history of the competition, after Andy Murray beat Belgian No. 1 David Goffin in straight sets.
In an emotionally charged atmosphere – the fourth rubber got underway and early on it was clear that umpire Pascal Maria would have his work cut out to quell the crowd. It looked as though Goffin was the one with the nerves at the start, serving a bit tightly, but coming through is own game after being put under immediate pressure.
As the players both settled down it was clear it was going come down to margins and experience to get the job done. Both had been pivotal to their sides’ successes over the year, playing in front of home crowds, certainly in the Belgians’ case and all the additional pressure that brings.
With both having flirted with being broken, it was the Belgian who blinked first in the cauldron of noise, as Murray took the early advantage with a break to love
With Goffin just putting a little too much on his serve in his desperation to stay in the set, he managed to salvage three set points, forcing the World No. 2 to serve out the first set.
It was a brave effort, but the first set result has a real feeling of inevitability about it, as Murray closed it with his fourth set point.
But now was not the time for jingoistic fervour – Goffin started slow on Friday and came back at the inexperienced Kyle Edmund, but already had 9 sets in his tired legs coming into the match.
Thankfully for the Belgian he slowly began to pick up his first serve percentage which had cost him dear in the first set, yet almost each service game felt like a mini battle for the hosts.
With the British contingent giving good voice, Murray reeled off his third hold to love, as he geared up for another assault on the Belgian’s serve. He could not quite make it four in a row as Goffin finally stopped the run of points from Murray’s racquet, and the Brit heaved a bit of a sigh of relief to get the score to 5-5.
This set had been unbelievably tight, and once more the Belgian just tightened up enough to whack a forehand in the net with enough oomph to have the Brits rising as one for Murray to come out and serve for a two set lead.
Now we said it was a long way back for Goffin as he went two sets down to Edmund, but he had to be feeling the three days of play in his legs right about now.
There was no doubt that Murray was looking the more threatening now, as Goffin stepped up to start the third set. The levels of Murray’s accuracy had dropped, but not it seemed the levels of his frustration giving away a break at the start of the third set, picking up a code violation for ‘language’. Decisive action was required and duly metered out as Murray broke straight back.
Goffin was doing a great job of hanging in with the Brit, but a break to love had him trudging disconsolately about the place, with Murray doing his best to help him by dipping almost immediately 0/30 before righting the ship. Two match points, a break of serve and just six minutes shy of three hours, and once more Murray was at the forefront of history being made.
Collapsing to the ground with his team mates running over to him, he dashed the Belgian charge in straight sets.
Now was not the time for recriminations as the Belgian team were welcomed into their press conference, and Goffin is knocking on the door of the Top 10.
The Belgian No. 1 said: “Andy was really solid today. I give what I had to do, what I have. Yeah, today I gave everything. I think after a match like this, I have no regrets. I think after a match like this, and a tie, we can all be proud. Even if we lost the tie today, I think we played an unbelievable season in Davis Cup. I think Andy and the Great Britains [sic] deserves the trophy today.”
It was a view echoed by Belgian Team Captain, Johan Van Herck, whose decision to play Goffin with Steve Darcis in the doubles left his star player with a lot to do on top of a lot of tennis.
“At the moment I have no regrets at all. I’m still behind all the choices I made. I’m behind the preparation we had. I think today we lost to a better team. That’s it. If you see Andy today, I think as David said, there was for us nothing more to do. We gave it everything, but he was just a better player. He was great at the big points.”
Quotes c/o 10sballs.com
Main Image Credit: Jordan Mansfield
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