Brussels, Sep 19 (IANS/EFE) David Goffin got Belgium off to a strong start in its Davis Cup semi-final match-up against Argentina, topping Federico Delbonis 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 to give his side a 1-0 lead.
The 15th-ranked Goffin thrilled the crowd at this capital’s 8,000-capacity Forest National arena, the venue for Belgium’s first semi-final tie in 16 years, with his solid performance against the 65th-ranked Argentine, EFE reported on Friday.
The 24-year-old Goffin took a commanding lead even though Delbonis rallied from a break down in each of the first two sets.
He then showed a greater comfort level on the medium-speed hard court in the final set to separate himself from his opponent, wrapping up the contest in just over two and a half hours.
“It was a really close match that was decided by little things,” Delbonis said in the post-match press conference.
“We’re going to encourage (our players) and give them confidence; while we have a chance, we’re going to keep fighting,” the Argentine said.
Both players struck 44 winners, but Goffin had the edge with 39 unforced errors, nine fewer than Delbonis, who credited his opponent with applying the pressure that forced him into those mistakes.
Asked about the possibility of competing in Sunday’s reverse singles, which will determine the outcome of the tie unless Belgium pulls off a 3-0 sweep, Delbonis said that decision rests with captain Daniel Orsanic
Although Mayer downplayed the impact of the crowd, Goffin credited the “amazing” atmosphere in Forest National for helping spur him on to victory.
He also said he would be ready to play in Saturday’s doubles if called upon by captain Johan Van Herck.
Belgium’s Steve Darcis is taking on Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in Friday’s second singles match.
In the other Davis Cup semi-final, being played at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Britain and Australia are knotted at 1-1 after Scottish world No. 3 Andy Murray routed Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 and Australia’s Bernard Tomic topped Britain’s Daniel Evans 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 in a match that featured 44 aces.