Belgium vs Australia Davis Cup Semi-Final preview: Kyrgios and Goffin the headline names as Belgium host Australia in Brussels.
Nick Kyrgios leads Australia’s bid for the Davis Cup final while David Goffin spearheads the Belgian challenge as both countries meet in the semi-finals in Brussels from 15-17 September.
Belgium vs Australia Davis Cup tennis is live from Brussels from 15-17 September.
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Australia are the second most successful nation in Davis Cup history, with their 28 titles just four behind record-holders, the United States, but the Aussies have not won the competition since defeating Spain in the 2003 final. In fact, Australia have not been to the final since then, and this is just the second time since 2006 that Lleyton Hewitt’s men are competing in the semi-finals.
However, led by Kyrgios this year, Australia have looked a formidable force, dismissing the Czech Republic 4-1 in the first round (after building an unassailable 3-0 lead in the contest), before taking down the Americans in four rubbers in Brisbane in the quarter finals, with Kyrgios winning his two singles’ rubbers.
However, having played the first two rounds at home, Australia are on the road for the first time this year, and their hosts, Belgium have unsurprisingly dragged their opponents to clay courts of the Palais 12 in Brussels.
Two-time runners-up Belgium are seeking their second final in three years after losing the 2015 title match to Great Britain. Belgium shocked Germany in Frankfurt in the first round, sealing the tie in the fourth rubber when Steve Darcis stunned Alexander Zverev in four sets in the first reverse singles. Darcis and Goffin were at it again in the quarter finals against Italy in Charleroi, combining to guide the hosts into just their second semi-final since 1999.
Both teams’ hopes are very dependent on how well their respective top 20 stars fare- will it be Kyrgios to power Australia into the Davis Cup final, or can Goffin inspire the home team into a second final in two years?
Check back here from Friday, 15 September for the latest Belgium vs Australia Davis Cup results
Belgium vs Australia Squads
Both teams have made one change from the sides that got them through their respective quarter finals, with Australia bringing in Thanasi Kokkinakis for Sam Groth, while Belgium have called up Arthur de Greef as replacement for Joris de Loore, who misses out because of a knee injury.
Australian Number One, Kyrgios has had an up-and-down season, excelling on North American hard courts earlier in the year before injuries disrupted his clay court season, leading into his campaign on grass and the early part of his return to North America. Kyrgios suffered three straight retirements between Queen’s, Wimbledon and Washington, but he finally showed some of his early season form with a run to the Washington final. However, all the optimism was doused yet again by another injury-shrouded opening round loss to compatriot, John Millman at the US Open. For all his troubles on the ATP Tour, Kyrgios has been inspirational for Australia in the Davis Cup, winning all three singles rubbers against Czech Republic and USA. He has been ably assisted by Jordan Thompson, who has got Australia off to winning starts in each of the opening two rounds. However, he faces competition to keep his singles place, with the inclusion of Kokkinakis, who is back playing consistent tennis after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injuries. John Peers is booked in for the doubles.
Belgium will again be reliant on Goffin and Darcis to deliver the goods, just like they have done in the previous two rounds. Darcis scored two huge wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Alexander Zverev in the first round, while Goffin took his turn to do the double act in the quarter finals against Italy.
Goffin had an excellent start to the season, backing up a quarter final at the Australian Open with consecutive finals in Rotterdam and Sofia, a solid clay court season yielded a semi-final in Monte Carlo and quarter final in Madrid, but his season took an unfortunate turn for the worse when he suffered an ankle injury following a nasty tumble at Roland Garros. He hasn’t quite been the same since his return to the sport, and was clearly hampered in a fourth round loss to Andrey Rublev at the US Open.
Darcis is only 12-14 in a season highlighted by quarter finals in Sofia and Delray Beach, but with a 21-8 record in Davis Cup singles’ rubbers (3-0 in 2017), he is a stalwart for his country in the competition. Darcis could also join Ruben Bemelmans for the doubles’ rubber, while Arthur de Greef is the other alternative.
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