VILLENEUVE-D’ASCQ, France – France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga steamrolled Belgium’s Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 on Friday to draw his country level at 1-1 in the Davis Cup final.
Earlier in the day, David Goffin had given Belgium the lead with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Lucas Pouille.
Playing before 25,813 fans at Stade Pierre Mauroy, the runner-up at this month’s ATP Finals to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov earned his first win over Pouille in four attempts.
The solid and consistent Belgian No. 1 was surprisingly dominant on serve, not facing a single break point in the entire contest against a strong baseline opponent.
He also was typically effective on return, capitalizing on five of his 11 break-point opportunities.
Despite his slight build, Goffin struck his first serve at an average of 190 km/h (118 mph) and even clocked one at 226 km/h (140 mph). Goffin blasted 12 aces and zero double faults, compared to six and two respectively from Pouille.
But Tsonga got France on track with an even more dominant performance in the second rubber, as he easily brushed aside Darcis in their first career meeting.
Like Goffin, Tsonga held serve throughout the match without having to stave off a single break point. He also put constant pressure the serve of Darcis, who only managed to save five of the 11 break points he faced.
This year’s final is being played at the same venue where France lost to Switzerland three matches to one in the 2014 championship round, although this time the French have chosen to play on indoor hard court instead of red clay.
France is seeking its 10th Davis Cup title and its first since 2001, while two-time runner-up Belgium is trying to win its first crown at tennis’ premier international team competition.
Belgium lost to Great Britain in the 1904 and 2015 finals.