Davis Cup First Round
Bergs seals Belgium win against Croatia in Davis Cup Qualifiers
France, Czechia also advance to Finals Group Stage
February 04, 2024
Belgium’s Zizou Bergs in action against Serbia’s Duje Ajdukovic on Sunday during the Davis Cup Qualifiers.
By ITF Staff
An inspired Zizou Bergs defeated Croatia’s Duje Ajdukovic to claim the decisive point that confirmed Belgium’s qualification for the 2024 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage in September.
Bergs has enjoyed an exceptionally productive week in Varazdin with this his second singles victory of the tie coming hot on the heels of his opening day success against former World No. 3 Marin Cilic.
In many respects that win set the tone for the Belgian performance, and even though they were pegged back yesterday as Ajdukovic dispatched Joris de Loore in the second singles, they were not to be denied.
It was Bergs, who until this week had lost five of the seven Davis Cup matches he had contested, that administered the knockout blow, with his 6-1, 7-5 victory over Ajdukovic sending Belgium to the Finals for the third time.
The foundations for Belgium’s triumph were laid earlier in the day by Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen’s stunning victory over Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic in the doubles. Gille and Vliegen recovered from a set down to win 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). The Belgian duo defeated two players who have six Grand Slam doubles titles between them and it paved the way for Bergs to haul his nation over the finish line.
By stepping out on court, Dodig moved level with Ivan Ljubicic in second place on the all-time list for most Davis Cup ties played by a Croatian player. However, it is unlikely to be a match he remembers fondly as Gille and Vliegen triumphed.
Mahut/Roger-Vasselin book French finals ticket
Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin secured the crucial third point to send France through to September’s Finals Group Stage. They beat Hsu Yu Hsiou and Jason Jung 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(1) in front of a packed and vocal home crowd at the Taipei Tennis Center in Taipei City.
“We played a very good team,” Roger-Vasselin said. “They started better than us. We managed to stay calm and positive. At the end it was a fight – we are really happy with the win.”
“They played really much better than their rankings and they had great support from the crowd,” added Mahut. “Our positive attitude helped us to win the match.”
The French pair built on first-day wins from 19-year-old Luca van Assche, who beat Hsu 6-4, 6-4 on his Davis Cup debut, and from the experienced Adrian Mannarino, who claimed a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Wu Tung-Lin.
“I’m very happy with the win today,” Van Aasche said after his match. “It was an amazing feeling to play my first match with the French team. I’m just very happy to have won the first point for France.”
Ten-time Davis Cup winners France have placed third in the Finals Group Stage in the previous two years, missing out on a place in the quarter-finals. Sunday’s win gives them another shot at making the Final 8 in November.
Czechs ease to finals spot in Trinec
Czechia has beaten Israel 3-0 in its 2024 Davis Cup Qualifier to secure its passage through to September’s Group Stage Finals for the second straight year.
Much of the work was done in the singles by Jiri Lehecka and Jakub Mensik on Saturday, and the tie ended in unfortunate circumstances on Sunday when Israel’s doubles pair of Daniel Cukierman and Edan Leshem had to retire when trailing Tomas Machac and Adam Pavlasek 1-4.
Even without Cukierman’s injury, Israel were facing a huge uphill battle on Sunday, knowing they had to win all three matches to progress, and they were on the back foot from the start against Machac and Pavlasek.
“From the beginning we played really well”, said Machac. “We played really well at the Australian Open, both of us, and we wanted to continue this here which we did. I would like to wish Dani a speedy recovery. This kind of ending is not nice. I don’t feel emotions now.”
Czechia has a proud record in team competitions in both men’s and women’s events, with their name engraved on the Davis Cup trophy on three occasions, most recently with back-to-back triumphs in 2012 and 2013.
Led by the experienced Jaroslav Navrartil as captain, this side reached the quarter-finals in Malaga last year for the first time since 2016, and they will head to September’s Group Stages full of confidence.