BRUSSELS (Reuters) – David Goffin and Steve Darcis staged a thrilling comeback on Sunday to take Belgium into their second Davis Cup final in three years with a 3-2 victory over Australia.
World number 12 Goffin, playing some of the best tennis of his career, defeated world number 20 Nick Kyrgios 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 6-4 on the clay, weathering some blistering serves from the Australian that neared the 230-kph mark.
“It’s incredible… It was the match of my career in the Davis Cup so far,” an elated Goffin told reporters after leveling the match 2-2.
Darcis, a Davis Cup hero in Belgium, clinched the victory with a 6-4 7-5 6-2 win over late replacement Jordan Thompson to put his side into November’s final against France, who completed a 3-1 win over Serbia earlier on Sunday.
“It’s a big week for me but it was an unbelievable win for David, I’ve never seen him play that good,” said Darcis, who has won four out of his five Davis Cup singles in the run to the final this year.
Australia started the final day 2-1 up after winning Saturday’s doubles and Kyrgios looked the favorite early on, silencing the rowdy Belgian crowd by hitting 10 aces in the first set and winning the tiebreak.
Goffin, whose knee injury at the U.S. Open in August initially put his semi-final appearance in doubt, quickly found his way back, however, converting backhand service returns into winners and eventually frustrating the unpredictable Kyrgios.
Goffin had not beaten Kyrgios in their three previous encounters but this was their first match on clay and, with the home advantage, that proved critical for the 26-year-old Belgian.
Kyrgios, who was fined for bad behavior during his U.S. Open first-round defeat, lost his cool, smashing his racket into the court after losing his service game late in the fourth set.
Darcis, who also won the fifth rubber against Argentina in 2015 to put Belgium into the final — where they lost to Britain — had an easier time on Sunday, breaking Thompson’s service in the first game.
Set to play John Millman until a late switch by Australian coach Lleyton Hewitt, Darcis still faced a fierce challenge from Thompson, world number 70, in the second set. He was forced to save a set point with an ace and endured a rally of more than 40 shots.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Clare Fallon)