Kubler Leads Australia To Opening Win At Davis Cup Finals

Jason Kubler (photo: e|motion group/Paul Zimmer)

HAMBURG, September 13, 2022 (by Dietmar Kaspar)

Group C action of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2022 kicked off Tuesday in Hamburg with the tie between Australia and Belgium. It was the seventh meeting of the nations with each team winning three encounters in the past.

In the first singles rubber between the No. 2 players, Australia came up with a surprise in their line-up. World No. 97 Jason Kubler, who was nominated yesterday evening by team captain Lleyton Hewitt to replace Thanasi Kokkinakis, made his Davis Cup debut for the 28-time champion. Team Belgium started their campaign with the expected player Zizou Bergs, who is currently ranked World No. 137.

After an even start in their first meeting, Brisbane-born Kubler broke his opponent in the ninth game and took the first set with his serve. Bergs, 23, fought back and gained the only two breaks in the second set to level the match. In the deciding set, Lommel native Bergs had the better start gaining a 3-1 lead, but 29-year-old Kubler won five games in a row to claim a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory after one hour and 54 minutes.

“Playing such an important match for your country for the first time is not so easy and you have to handle your nerves. I tried to believe in me and play in a normal way like I do in other matches. Being down in the third set, I found my energy inspired by the great support of my team mates. So I am happy about my win and this great experience today,” Kubler said after the match.

De Minaur secures win

In the match of the two  top-ranked players, Australian Alex de Minaur met former World No. 7 David Goffin from Belgium.

Twenty-three-year-old de Minaur dominated the match from the beginning. The Sydney native converted four of his five break-point chances without dropping a service game to prevail 6-2, 6-2 in 66 minutes. It was the fourth win for de Minaur against the World No. 62 in as many meetings, two on the ATP Tour and two in Davis Cup.

De Minaur told the press: “It is extremely important for me to seal the win for my team today because everybody expected this from me. It was a fantastic situation for me with Jason going out today on his debut, pulling the importance of the rubber out of his head and playing with passion and pride to give me the lead for my match.”

Asked about the advantage of having a 3-0 head-to-head record against Goffin before the match, the World No. 22 responded: “I think when you play Davis Cup everything is out of the window like rankings, match-ups and previous forms. It is just a battle out there and you have to get reseted and focused on the things you have to do.”

Aussie doubles team completes clean sweep

Reigning Wimbledon doubles champions Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell from Australia continued their great run of form, beating the Belgian tandem of Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen in a one-sided encounter in 64 minutes by the score of 6-1, 6-3.

Coming up

Group-stage action will continue tomorrow when team Germany, without Alexander Zverev, open their home campaign against France. Play at Hamburg’s Rothenbaum Tennis Stadium will start at 2 p.m. CET.

Tuesday’s results:

Australia – Belgium 3-0

Jason Kubler (AUS) – Zizou Bergs (BEL) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3

Alex de Minaur (AUS) – David Goffin (BEL) 6-2, 6-2

Matthew Ebden/Max Purcell (AUS) – Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen (BEL) 6-1, 6-