Ice-cool David Goffin beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, sends Davis Cup final into deciding match

Davis Cup, Davis Cup final, David Goffin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Belgium, France, sports news, tennis, Indian ExpressDavis Cup, Davis Cup final, David Goffin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Belgium, France, sports news, tennis, Indian Express David Goffin went 3-1 up in the tiebreak. (Source: Reuters)

David Goffin never once lost his cool as he beat a nervy Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(5) 6-3 6-2 to put Belgium level at 2-2 with hosts France, sending the Davis Cup final into a decisive fifth match on Sunday.

The world number seven saved six break points in a thrilling opening set of the first reverse singles, before cantering to victory in a packed Pierre Mauroy stadium.

The final encounter was set to feature local favourite Lucas Pouille against Steve Darcis, who has never lost in five decisive Davis Cup matches.

France, who have not lifted the trophy since 2001, are looking to clinch their 10th title while Belgium are seeking their maiden Davis Cup.

Tsonga had won his first singles against Darcis after Goffin, high on self-confidence since he finished runner-up at the ATP Finals, had put Belgium ahead by beating Pouille on Friday.

Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore on Saturday to give Les Bleus a 2-1 advantage.

Tsonga hoped to become a national hero on Sunday but instead lost his composure in a bitter end to the match after a disputed call in the third set, triggering huge boos from the 27,000 crowd.

The match, though, was already long lost for the world number 15, who was simply beaten by a much better player on the indoor hardcourt.

Tsonga started aggressively, setting up a break point on Goffin’s first service game but the Belgian staved it off confidently.

The Frenchman’s whipping forehand proved tough to handle for Goffin, who never threatened on his opponent’s serve.

Tsonga punched and punched, creating another four break points in the eighth game, only for Goffin to react in clinical fashion.

He engaged Tsonga in two lung-busting rallies to save the first two, and saved the others with a jaw-dropping crosscourt forehand winner and a backhand winner down the line.

Tsonga had a set point on Goffin’s serve at 6-5 but the Belgian saved it with a forehand winner.

Goffin went 3-1 up in the tiebreak, Tsonga fought back and led 5-4 but lost the three remaining points, losing the set despite a first-serve percentage of 77 when he could not return a perfectly angled first serve.

Tsonga had a brief medical timeout to have his neck massaged.

Goffin saved yet another break point early in the second set and Tsonga cracked in the sixth game, dropping serve on an ugly double fault.

Goffin closed it out comfortably to lead two sets to one.

The third set was a mere formality, with the only notable incident coming from Tsonga who, with captain Yannick Noah, protested to the chair umpire about a line call.

Television footage showed Goffin’s ball was clearly out but Tsonga had continued playing without raising his arm to request a video challenge.

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