By Alessandro Mastroluca
- Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury completed the comeback win over Belgium and avoided an early exit in the ATP Cup
- Dan Evans surprisingly defeated in straight-sets World No.11 David Goffin, Steve Darcis upset Cameron Norrie
- Great Britain have to beat Moldova to have a chance to reach the quarterfinals
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Dan Evans upset David Goffin, Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury took a crucial win in the doubles rubber. Great Britain will need to beat Moldova in the final tie.
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Great Britain fought hard and remained alive in their group the ATP Cup. After their 2-1 win over Belgium, the Brits maintain some chances to move to the quarter-finals as the top-ranked team in Group C. Surprisingly, Dan Evans was the man of the match in Sydney as he produced a stunning straight-sets victory over world No 11 David Goffin to power Great Britain to a vital comeback victory.
Steve Darcis def. Cameron Norrie 6-2 6-4
Steve Darcis needed 72 minutes to beat Cameron Norrie 6-2 6-4. He had an answer for every question the British No.2 posed to him throughout the one-sided match. The crowd in Sydney easily forgot that he is going to retire after the Australian Open.
Norrie is the highest-ranked opponent Darcis had beaten since his win over World No.50 Adrian Mannarino at a Challenger tournament in Lisbon last May. The British left-hander was forced to build the points, to wait for the perfect ball behind the baseline as Darcis dictated the pace of the rallies. Norrie, who beat Bulgaria’s Dimitar Kuzmanov on Friday, struggled to find his rhythm from the back. He lost serve twice, Darcis went 5-2 ahead and served out the set at the first time of asking.
Darcis opened a 4-0 gap in the second set. Having his back to the wall, Norrie began to play freely and more aggressively, controlling the point when his first serve percentage began to increase. He came back to 3-4 but Darcis maintained an almost impeccable return of serve, the cornerstone of both sets for the Belgian.
READ MORE | ATP Cup: schedule and draws
Dan Evans def. David Goffin 6-4 6-4
Goffin simply had to take care of business to send Great Britain packing. But Evans broke him in the very first game of the match and went 6-4 4-0 ahead before Goffin desperately tried to stage a comeback.
The British No.1 showed all the weapons in his clever, unorthodox game. He used his backhand slices to control the point before ripping a forehand winner. Despite winning 57% of his service points, Evans broke five times and sealed his sixth Top 20 victory, the first since beating then-World No. 16 Nikoloz Basilashvili at Wimbledon last year.
After the match, as reported by BBC Sport,, he thanked captain Tim Henman who ensured his player remained focused and stuck to the gameplan.
“He did that throughout a long career and there’s no-one better to give me a game-plan. Everybody knows my game is similar to Tim’s game. It’s great he came out and did this job for us.”
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Jamie Murray/Joe Salisbury def. Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen 6-3 7-6(7)
That left Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury with the weight of expectation on their shoulders. Avoiding the lapses that caused the defeat in the closing stages against Bulgaria, they beat 6-3 7-6 (9-7) Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, an established duo that won three ATP titles in 2019, keeping British hopes alive.
Main qualification scenarios
Great Britain will open Tuesday’s final round-robin tie against Moldova with a chance of reaching the knockout stages. They have to win 3-0 and hope that Belgium defeats Bulgaria by a narrower margin.
Great Britain, Belgium, and Bulgaria would finish with the same number of victories (2-1). Bulgaria would be eliminated having fewer match wins (singles and doubles) and the Brits would move ahead thanks to the success in the head to head against the Belgians.
If Bulgaria beats Belgium, Great Britain will finish in second place with a win over Moldova, having relevant chances to qualify as one of the two best second-placers.
Great Britain take on Moldova in Sydney at 10am (11pm GMT).
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