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16 September 2012

A clean sweep for Belgium disappoints Sweden



  • Richard Fleming

Photo: ImagellanDavid Goffin (BEL) celebrates with some fans

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Sweden suffered their first Davis Cup by BNP Paribas whitewash since 2006 as Belgium swept back into the World Group at the Royal Primerose Tennis Club in Brussels.

Wins on Sunday for David Goffin and Steve Darcis, over Markus Eriksson and Andreas Vinciguerra respectively, completed the 5-0 rout.

Team captain Thomas Enqvist said: "There's no excuse. We lost to a better team, that's for sure.

"We'll now head home, work hard with the players and do all that we can to get back into the World Group next year."

When the draw is made on Wednesday for the 2013 edition of the Davis Cup, the name of Sweden will be missing from the list of World Group contenders for the first time in more than a decade.

Enqvist added: "We need to keep working hard to improve and develop this group of players, to help them play at this level more often during the year."

Sweden's conveyor-belt of tennis talent is not supplying the numbers it once did. The former world No. 4 dismissed talk of recriminations on their return.

He said: "This is not something that we've woken up to as a result of this match.

"We've been seeing the last couple of years that we've been struggling with the top of the men's senior game in Sweden but we have some good juniors."

Promising youngsters are coming through, something which is acknowledged by Eriksson. He said: "The juniors won their European championship so, it's going to take some time, but I think we're going to come back.

"We had so many good players in the 80s and 90s. I don't know why we're not producing those players right now but hopefully in another 5-10 years we'll be back."

Eriksson lost 63 64 to Goffin in Sunday's opening singles rubber. He broke the Goffin serve three times in the second set, yet still came off second best.

Vinciguerra was then beaten in straight sets, 64 62, by Darcis in just 67 minutes.

To be fair, Belgium offered up very few opportunities in this tie, though when they did, all too often the Swedish players were unable to capitalise.

The proud tennis nation of Sweden will be hurting. Belgium were a good team but not a great one, and yet they were rarely troubled. Sweden managed to win just one set, which came in the doubles on Saturday.

Belgium's comprehensive win - their first by such a scoreline since 2002 - was completed by Darcis.

He said: "When it's 3-zero on Saturday evening, all the pressure is away. David (Goffin) and I could play relaxed and it showed on the court."

Both Darcis and captain Johan van Herck had special praise for Goffin, who was Belgium's highest ranked player for this contest. Prior to this weekend he had featured in just one Davis Cup tie.

Van Herck said: "He's a huge talent. For the future we can have a good team."

There will be tougher tests to come for both Belgium and Goffin, but they are back among the elite and - for now - that is all that matters.


Johan van Herck (BEL) - 16/09/2012

Markus Eriksson (SWE) - 16/09/2012

Steve Darcis (BEL) - 16/09/2012

Captain Thomas Enqvist (SWE) - 16/09/2012

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BEL Flag Belgium v Sweden SWE Flag 14 Sep 2012 - 16 Sep 2012 View details

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  • More photos

    • David Goffin (BEL) celebrates with some fansDavid Goffin and captain Johan van Herck (BEL)
    • Captain Johan van Herck, David Goffin and Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)Belgian fans
    • Steve Darcis (BEL)Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE)
    • David Goffin (BEL)Belgian fan
    • Markus Eriksson (SWE)David Goffin (BEL)

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