All-square in Lille
Originally published on 24/11/17 00:00
David Goffin, brimming with confidence after his run to the championship match of the ATP Finals last week, dispatched Lucas Pouille 7-5 6-3 6-1 before Jo-Wilfried restored parity with a thumping 6-3 6-2 6-1 win over the hapless Steve Darcis.
The results on the opening afternoon were expected and the doubles rubber on Saturday will likely go a long way to deciding the eventual outcome.
For Belgium to have any realistic hope of departing northern France with the trophy in tow, then their talisman needs to deliver for his nation. Goffin is tasked with leading his side to a first Davis Cup triumph and he has embraced the responsibility.
The world No.7 made light work of Pouille and wrapped up an emphatic victory in less than two hours. Goffin improved with each set and his eye-catching backhand purred in the latter stages.
Tsonga was expected to defeat Darcis in the second rubber to level the tie, and he achieved his objective with consummate ease. The 32-year-old conceded just six games as he raced to a quick win over his disjointed opponent.
It may have been the first ever meeting between Tsonga and Darcis, but the Belgian was hopelessly out of form. The world No.76 will need to perform considerably better if he is required to play a fifth and final rubber on Sunday.