INNSBRUCK: Germany duo Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz sent their country into the Davis Cup semi-finals as they beat British pair Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski in a tense doubles decider to earn a 2-1 victory on Tuesday.
Their 7-6 (12-10), 7-6 (7-5) win in Innsbruck sealed a remarkable comeback for the Germans, who avenged their defeat at the same stage of the competition by Britain in 2019.
Dan Evans had given Britain the lead by thrashing Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 6-1 in the first singles.
But Jen-Lennard Struff then kept Germany alive in the last-eight clash with an inspired performance to defeat world number 12 Cameron Norrie.
Struff won 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 6-2 to send the tie into the deciding doubles rubber which proved a nerve-jangling affair.
The German pair saved four set points on their way to winning the first set in a remarkable tiebreak in which they claimed it on their fourth set point.
They were then 5-0 down in the second tiebreak of the match but reeled off seven consecutive points to seal the win and set up a semi-final against either Russia or Sweden in Madrid. Croatia will face either Serbia or Kazakhstan in the other semi-final.
Germany only needed one match point with Puetz firing an unstoppable return down the line to spark celebrations among the players and support staff even if there were no fans inside the Olympiahalle because of Austria’s Covid-19 lockdown.
“It’s great, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Germany captain Michael Kohlmann said. “We had super team chemistry.”
Krawietz, twice a French Open doubles champion, said: “I am super happy that we’re going to Madrid. The box was unbelievably loud — it pushed us a lot and super happy to make it to the semi-finals. This is an incredible team achievement. We have a great atmosphere in the team from day one.”
Germany have won the Davis Cup three times but not since 1993.
“We have done everything to win,” Struff said. “We hope our journey goes on and the next goal is to win the semi-final.”
Britain were seeking their fourth semi-final berth in the last six editions of the tournament. They last won the event in 2015.
“Everyone is gutted, this is a tough day to swallow,” Britain team captain Leon Smith said. “It could have gone either way, but it wasn’t to be today. They gave their best effort but sometimes that is not enough, and Germany deserve to go through.”
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2021