Kazakhstan has booked its place in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group for the first time in its history after Andrey Golubev and Yuriy Schukin won the all-important doubles rubber to give the central Asian nation an unassailable 3-0 lead against Switzerland.
The pressure was on the visitors coming into the doubles - only a win would give them any chance of avoiding relegation to the Europe Africa zone.
Team captain Severin Luthi made one change to the scheduled line-up bringing in Stanislas Wawrinka to partner Yves Allegro. Kazakhstan also made a switch with Golubev, who was so impressive in Friday’s opening singles, being brought in to play with Schukin.
The opening set was a nervy affair, with neither side managing to take advantage of the numerous breaks of serve. However, it was the home team who managed to take the set by the scruff of the neck, breaking the Swiss side for the third time to take the lead.
Both sides had settled by the time the second set got underway, with breaks at a premium for everyone apart from Allegro, who was having real trouble holding his serve. The 32-year-old was broken on every single service game except two.
“We were trying to put more pressure on him, as we knew Wawrinka was their better player. So of course it’s natural to target Allegro, as he’s the weaker player,” said Schukin of the home side’s tactics.
Victory for Kazakhstan
The plan certainly worked as two breaks of serve were enough to put Kazakhstan into a two-sets-to-love lead. Nothing was going right for the visitors, and it wasn’t really a surprise when the home side wrapped up victory in straight sets in just over an hour and 45 minutes, taking advantage of their fourth match point, which led to jubilant celebrations.
“Before the match we couldn’t even have dreamt that we would win the tie 3-0, as we were playing a strong team in Switzerland. But before the tie we said we would be thoroughly prepared and every player would give 150 percent, so that’s why I think we managed to win in just two days,” said Golubev.
Golubev on song
For the second day running, Golubev played a fantastic match, and was once again imperious on serve, while his net play was equally good. He was well supported by Schukin who played a very intelligent game, especially from the back of the court, as well as making a number of forays to the net.
It was clear the Kazakh duo had a great understanding, despite the fact they had only played three Davis Cup doubles ties together, over a period spanning two years.
“Before the Davis Cup tie, we were practicing for the doubles match for the last two or three months, as we knew it would it would be so crucial. It was our dream to make it to the world group, and now we have made it, I am so happy,” said Schukin.
Dejection for the Swiss team, who have been out of sorts over the last couple of days and will now compete in the Europe and Africa zone next year, while Kazakhstan can look forward to playing the likes of Spain, France, or perhaps even Russia.