Riedi’s ‘A-game’ hauls Switzerland & Netherlands level
Slovakia leads Serbia 2-0, Hungary tied at 1-1 with Germany
February 02, 2024
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images for ITF
Leandro Riedi wins his first Davis Cup rubber on Friday.
By ITF Staff
Leandro Riedi held his nerve to overcome home favourite Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday, hauling Switzerland level in their 2024 Davis Cup Qualifier against Netherlands in Groningen.
The 22-year-old defeated Van de Zandschulp 6-4, 7-6(3) in the second singles match of the tie and in the process recorded his first Davis Cup victory after making his national team debut at last year’s Finals Group Stage.
The tie is locked at 1-1 after World No. 29 Tallon Griekspoor earlier defeated Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler.
The showdown could not be more finely balanced heading into day two as both nations bid to reach the 2024 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage in September. Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer will start tomorrow against Jerome Kym and Alexander Ritschard before two further singles matches.
If Switzerland are to replicate their 2023 showing and reach the Finals – last year was the first time they achieved the feat under the current format – then Riedi will likely play a pivotal role in proceedings in the remaining matches. A repeat of today’s showing and Switzerland will most certainly fancy their chances.
“It was a very tight match, a good match from both players and I was very happy I got there in the end,” said Riedi.
“I was very focused mentally and I had to be as the atmosphere was crazy in there. I enjoyed it even though it was against me. I had to be on my ‘A game’, and I was, so I’m very happy.”
Netherlands, who last year reached the quarter-finals, for the second successive season, appeared to be sitting pretty after Griekspoor’s match, a 7-6(3), 7-6(3) victory against Huesler.
Molcan, Klein give Slovakia decisive lead against Serbia
Alex Molcan rallied past Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 on Friday to give Slovakia a commanding 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup Qualifiers tie against last year’s semi-finalists Serbia.
The 26-year-old Molcan recovered from a slow start by finding more rhythm on his serve, dropping just one point behind his first delivery in the deciding set, sealing the match after one hour, 55 minutes.
”I’m happy that we were able to win two matches today. We knew it was going to be tough against Serbians in their home nation,” Molcan said. “I was a little bit nervous in the first set. I was [hitting] very short. I just was trying to hit the ball big and I didn’t have any idea what I was doing.
“In the second set, I started to hit the ball deep in the court and that helped me a lot. Then, I got the momentum until the end of the match, so I’m really happy that I could win. I’m also happy that Lukas won. I’m proud of our team today and we will try to make one more point tomorrow.”
Should the away team Slovakia secure a victory Saturday, they would advance to the Davis Cup Finals for the first time. Slovakia has suffered four consecutive losses at the Qualifiers stage.
Molcan’s countryman Lukas Klein ensured a fast start for his home country earlier on Friday, when he moved past Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6(2), 6-2.
Competing on indoor clay, Klein overpowered Kecmanovic from the baseline and was strong on return, breaking the World No. 41’s serve four times en route to a 90-minute triumph. Klein, who fell in a fifth-set tie-break to Alexander Zverev in the second round at last month’s Australian Open, earned his first Davis Cup rubber victory.
On Saturday, Nikola Cacic and Kecmanovic will go against Jozef Kovalik and Igor Zelenay in the doubles tie before the final two singles matches.
Fucsovics, Koepfer win; leaving Hungary vs. Germany level at 1-1
Marton Fucsovics equalised for Hungary in the Davis Cup qualifiers against Germany on Friday, when he defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 7-5.
Playing on an indoor hard-court in Hungary, Fucsovics earned his first win of the 2024 season after falling in the opening round of Brisbane and the Australian Open. The 31-year-old’s one-hour, 39-minute victory levelled the tie in Tatabanya at 1-1 after World No. 60 Dominik Koepfer kickstarted the day by defeating Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan 6-2, 7-6(4).
In a clash between two of the most powerful players on the ATP Tour, Fucsovics fought off all 11 break points he faced to earn his second win against Struff (2019 Dubai).
Earlier, Koepfer delivered a rock-solid performance to notch a 91-minute triumph for the away team, consistently pulling his opponent around the court with his lefty game and finishing with 20 winners to Marozsan’s 15.
”Super happy, one of the first [Davis Cup] matches I’ve played in front of people, because last time I played was during Covid. It’s extra special to represent your country, play in front of a sold-out crowd,” Koepfer said. “It’s a lot of fun playing for a team, not just for yourself. I’m super happy to get the win.”
Germany is bidding to reach the Davis Cup Finals for the fourth time. The central European nation, which has won the Davis Cup three times, holds a 3-1 record in qualifier ties, including a 5-0 victory against Hungary in 2019. Should Hungary advance, it would be their second trip to the Davis Cup Finals.
Both teams now look to what could be a pivotal doubles match on Saturday as they bid for a place in the 2024 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage, which will take place in September. Hungarians Marozsan and Mate Valkusz will meet Germans Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz in a doubles rubber before the final two singles matches.
Canada 2-0 Korea, Rep: Pospisil puts hosts in full control in Montreal
Canada need just one more point to book their place in September’s Davis Cup Finals Group Stage after Vasek Pospisil increased the scoreline to 2-0 with a 6-4 6-3 win over Hong Seongchan.
Pospisil, who has played more than 30 ties for his country, built on the lead provided by Gabriel Diallo, serving up victory in a match that included six aces and 20 winners from some deft all-court play.
Shaking off a double fault on his first match point, the 33-year-old served it out in one hour, 48 minutes.
“I love this competition,” Pospisil said. “Obviously playing for your country is so special and especially when you get to play at home.
“I consider myself super fortunate that I’ve had a great Davis Cup career… I’ve been injured for probably 80 per cent of the last two years but I seem to always be healthy just for the Davis Cup. I don’t know, it’s pretty funny. It’s nice, it’s special and hopefully I can play a couple more years.”
In the first match, Diallo thundered down 11 aces during his 6-4, 6-4 win over Kwon Soonwoo to take the first point for Canada. Kwon, who secured a straight-sets victory over Diallo’s compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Finals Group Stage in 2022, at times made life difficult for the Canadian, going a break up in both sets – something he revealed was his plan.
“I stayed calm,” Diallo said. “I felt pretty comfortable on his serve. I think that is something that kept me composed, and I knew that when I found my rhythm in my returns I would have chances to break and I managed to do it.”