Germany are on the brink of progressing to the semi-finals of the Davis Cup, as a shock victory for Peter Gojowczyk over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gave his team a 2-0 lead over France at the end of the first day’s action in Nancy.
Gojowczyk, currently ranked at 108 in the world, pulled off a stunning five-set win for the visitors against the world number five, which followed Tobias Kamke’s earlier success against Julien Benneteau.
The 24-year-old had lost his opening match in all of the last five tournaments he competed in, but he twice came back from a one-set deficit to win 5-7, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 8-6, in what will be seen as one of the biggest Davis Cup upsets in recent history, and he even had to battle against cramp in the deciding set.
It was a clear missed opportunity for the nine-time champions of the competition, as Tsonga had held match point on two occasions in the fourth set tie-break, and he missed a simple volley on his first match point.
His serving was the only positive on a devastating day for the 2008 Australian Open finalist, as 36 aces in the first ever meeting between the pair were still not enough to ensure victory.
That followed another unlikely win for his compatriot Kamke, who is ranked at 96 in the world, and he only needed just two hours and 40 minutes to sweep past Benneteau in three sets, with a scoreline of 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 putting the underdogs in a buoyant mood.
The events of the first set was a sign of things to come, as Benneteau squandered five set points, after leading 4-0, and he never managed to recover.
What makes Friday’s results from the opening two singles rubbers even more surprising is that the Germans were without any of their six highest ranked singles players coming into the tie, including Philipp Kohlschreiber and Tommy Haas.
Gojowczyk had even surprised himself with his own performance, and he had not expected things to go so well after realising he was suffering from cramp.
He told reporters after the match: “When you play for your country it’s obviously something special.
“I was cramping. I don’t know how I managed to win the match but I’m very happy to win the point for Germany.”
The home team are now relying on doubles pairing Michael Llodra and Gael Monfils to take the tie to a third and final day, as Kamke and Andre Begemann will look to seal the tie.
Whichever team progresses to the last four of the competition will face either Japan or Czech Republic, and Tsonga still believes his team can make it there, despite being disappointed about his loss.
“It was a tough loss,” the French number one said, “and I hope I will not see that again. It’s 2-0 for them and we will give everything to come back in this match and try to win it.”
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