Things you may not have noticed from this weekend’s Davis Cup action
If you didn’t keep up with all the Davis Cup action across timezones, Tennis Majors is here to help
Spots in the Davis Cup Finals were up for grabs this weekend – as were promotion slots to the World Group.
France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Australia, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Korea Republic, the United States and Argentina made it through to the group stage of the Finals later in the year.
Already qualified for the Finals are Croatia, the 2021 runners-up, plus wildcards Great Britain and Serbia.
Here are some of the things you might not have noticed that happened across the world during this weekend’s Davis Cup ties.
First time in the finals for South Korea
Korea Republic are through to the finals for the first time after beating Austria 3-1 in Seoul. Soonwoo Kwon won both his singles matches – and after losing the first singles encounter, Jisung Nam made up for it by partnering Minkyu Song to a doubles win.
Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik beat world No 8 Casper Ruud of Norway 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 en route to his nation’s qualification for a third consecutive time. Ruud won the title in Buenos Aires a month ago after recovering from the ankle problem that kept him out of the Australian Open, but has suffered with injury since, forcing him out of subsequent tournaments.
“We’re a young team, we will try to develop and keep going,” Ruud said after Norway’s defeat. “Just because we lost this match doesn’t mean we will stop fighting or trying. It’s obviously disappointing because we were trying to reach a step we’ve never been to before. We will play another match, probably this fall, and see if we can come back and put ourselves in this position again next year. That will be the goal now.”
Horansky the thwarted hero
Filip Horansky of Slovakia beat world No 21 Lorenzo Sonego in just his second tour-level win, 7-6(2), 6-3 – but it was ultimately Italy who progressed despite an early lead for the hosts, with subsequent singles wins for Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti.
Davis Cup debut for Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz finally made his bow at the Davis Cup after having his debut delayed by Covid at last year’s finals – and he arrived in style, hair immaculate and in his brand-new kit.
Argentina’s triumphant Coria brothers
Captain Guillermo Coria led a team including little brother Federico to a 4-0 victory over Czech Republic. That was despite a bit of a wobble from Diego Schwartzman, having to come back from a set and a break down against Tomas Machac – who famously upset Dan Evans in last year’s Finals.
Stefanos Tsitsipas might be the big star, but it was Petros who got the job done for Greece, winning in the doubles and the fifth rubber to help their nation back from a 2-0 deficit against Jamaica in World Group II.
Disgraced Zverev back on court
It was perhaps slightly surprising to see Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who won both his singles matches in straight sets to help his nation to a 3-1 away win over Brazil. That came a week after his unsavoury run-in with an umpire and subsequent disqualification in Acapulco.
Never doubt David Goffin
It was a 26th win in a 33rd Davis Cup singles match for the Belgian talisman David Goffin, who hasn’t won a singles match on tour since the first round of the Australian Open in January. In his match against Emil Ruusuvuori, he saved all eight break points he faced – and converted the three he made himself as Belgium edged Finland 3-2 in the tie.
Age no barrier
Two fortysomethings got it done for Pakistan and took them through to the World Group. Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi (aged 41) and Aqeel Khan (42) were the heroes in a 3-2 win against Lithuania.
Tennis legends in the crowd
Former US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini was spotted watching Argentina en route to their 4-0 win over Czech Republic.
Legends gathered in Spain to pay tribute to the late Manolo Santana – including Bjorn Borg, Nicola Pietrangeli, Jan Kodes, Ion Tiriac, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alex Corretja, Albert Costa and Anabel Medina.
Sombre occasion in Sydney
Australia may have put on a show as they bounced back from a 2-1 deficit against Hungary to win 3-2, with heroics from Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis, but there was also a sad mood as sports fans in Sydney said farewell to two cricketing greats, Rod Marsh and Shane Warne.
Calls for peace across the ties
Tennis is, obviously, overshadowed by the real world and the worrying situation in Ukraine, and players and fans alike took the opportunity to call for an end to hostilities. Argentina and Czech Republic were just two of the countries who used their platform to promote a message of peace.
Belgium and Finland also posed with a similar banner with the same message.
Russia would have qualified automatically for the Finals as the 2021 champions, but have been suspended from all international tennis competition until further notice following the invasion of Ukraine.