On Day One of Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal matches; Argentina defeated Serbia and Belgium beat Canada in the two singles rubbers to take an identical 2-0 lead but England and France were locked 1-1 after sharing the first-day honors. As already reported on these pages, Australia is in trouble even after the second doubles match. Kazakhstan leads 2-1 with only the reverse singles remaining on Sunday. At Buenos Aires, Leonardo Mayer put Argentina 1-0 ahead in the first singles match against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic with a straight sets victory before Federico Delbonis entered a five-set battle with Viktor Troicki. Delbonis lost the first two sets before bouncing back for a thrilling five-set win. The 2-0 first day lead made things easy for his country over the next two days. At Middelkerke in Belgium, the hosts had a memorable day as well. Steve Darcis began with a four-set victory over Serbian Frank Dancevic in the first singles rubber. In the next match, David Goffin enhanced Belgium’s lead to 2-0 with straight sets win against Filip Peliwo. In London, France took an early lead over Great Britain with Gilles Simon defeating James Ward but Andy Murray drew level after a remarkable three-set win against the fighting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In Buenos Aires, Leonardo Mayer played the first singles rubber against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic. The Argentine faced hardly any challenge from Krajinovic in notching up a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 victory but the challenge came in the match between Argentina’s Federico Delbonis and Viktor Troicki. In the first one hour, it looked like Troicki will win hands down to help Serbia draw level but the complexion changed with Delbonis bouncing back breaking Troicki in the seventh game of the third set to take a 4-3 lead and finally winning at 6-4 with two stunning drop shots. in the fourth, Troicki rallied and broke Delbonis in the eighth game but just when the Serbian thought he had done all, Delbonis produced another series of blistering backhands to hold his serve, break Troicki next and level set scores 2-2. With Troicki playing with slumped shoulders, Delbonis mounted the aggression in the decider. With crowds roaring, Delbonis played to the gallery as Troicki made a series of unforced errors. The Argentinian finished with an ace and dropped himself on the court after winning 2-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
The small sea-hugging Belgian town of Middelkerke had a memorable day as Belgium won both opening singles matches. Steve Darcis played first against Canada’s Frank Dancevic and broke the Canadian in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. But Dancevic reeled off the next 4 points to win the first set 6-3. Darcis played better in the second set and took a 3-1 lead with an early break. He kept the momentum going and won the set 6-1. After the third set went on serves until 5-5, Darcis found the break and wrapped up the set 7-5. The Belgian was quite balanced in the fourth set and produced some stunning shots to wind up proceeding with a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 win. In the next match, David Goffin had no trouble in seeing off Filip Peliwo with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory and Belgium had a great first day that ended with a 2-0 lead.
In London’s Queens Club, Great Britain had a losing start in their tie against France on Friday. Frenchman Gilles Simon defeated James Ward 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 to put France 1-0 ahead. However Ward didn’t totally break down as the score-line probably suggests. The Briton had a break point chance in the first game with Simon committing a double fault but Ward couldn’t capitalize. Simon finally broke Ward in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and won the first set 6-4. In the second set, Simon broke Ward early in the second set and kept holding his serve to finish at 6-4 once again. The third set was also decided with an early break by Simon and France took a 1-0 lead.
Andy Murray leveled the tie for England with a 7-5, 7-6, 6-2 win against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in more than 2½ hours. This rubber began with both players serving well before Murray held a break point the tenth game but Tsonga held. Murray found another opportunity two games later and wrapped up the first set 7-5. In the second set, it was Tsonga, who broke first but Murray leveled up by obtaining a break-back for 3-3. The second set had to be decided on tiebreak that lasted for 22 games before Murray won. Murray finally took the rubber 7-5, 7-6, 6-2 as France and Great Britain finished 1-1 on the opening day.