Photo: Philippe Huguen Agence France-Presse
David Goffin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are currently playing their best tennis.
The two were at the height of the situation, on Friday for their match simple curtain-raiser to the final of the Davis Cup, offering it to their team’s victories in a single direction, while France and Belgium are tied at 1-1.
Tsonga took the measure of Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 to allow the host nation to equalize after the tennis lesson offensive served by Goffin to Lucas Pouille, defeated 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.
Tsonga and Goffin will play against one another on Sunday, in what could well prove to be the decisive engagement, after the double on Saturday.
“Wait and let’s see who will be able to impose his tactics,” said the French captain, Yannick Noah.
Tsonga has missed several opportunities to take the lead early in the first set, but he finally got the break to lead 5-3 with a forehand deep to his fourth ball breakage.
The French then won five consecutive games and he has concluded the second leg in service, with a winning move when its cushioning struck the top of the net and the ball fell to the other side.
Tsonga continued to play with consistency and brilliance in the third set, demonstrating reflexes well-sharpened on a couple flights.
“My goal was to allow my team to get back to equality,’ said Tsonga. Regardless of the way in. Now, I look forward to Sunday for me to fight until the end. “
Earlier, Goffin, seventh best player in the world, was spectacular throughout the match. He has managed 21 hits and 12 aces and did not concede a single ball breakage.
Galvanized by his journey to the championship game of the Final of the ATP last week, he has signed a number of victories at the expense of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“I have rarely seen him play at this level,” said Pouille. Even when I spent my first service at 220 km/h, he returned the ball 30 centimeters from the line. He plays the best tennis of his life. “
Even before the beginning of the first match, replacing frenchman Julien Benneteau has shed a few tears in the stands when his teammates came on the field. Benneteau has been consoled by his team-mate to double Nicolas Mahut, removed from the team by the captain Yannick Noah on Thursday.
Mahut and Benneteau were playing together the double on Saturday, but Noah has taken a surprising decision in including Richard Gasquet in the place. Gasquet must now be paired with Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Goffin, who had lost his three previous matches against Pouille, has played with a bandage on his left knee, but he nevertheless moved with ease and he received two consecutive aces to keep his service at 5-5. He won his first ball breakage when Puglia has sent a forehand into the net, then he scored on a error of a setback.
Goffin sealed the end of the handle to the next game on his service, and gave up no points to his rival.
Pouille has never recovered from the loss of the first round and Goffin has made quite an impression in front of the supporters, the belgian with his variety of shots. He dictated the pace with strikes in depth while continuing to apply pressure from the start in the second set. Strong return of service, it is also mounted at the net, where he executed beautiful approach shots, and it was immediately broken when Puglia has committed a double fault.
Goffin lost just one point on his service in the second set, and he concluded with another break in the ninth game.