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15 September 2012

Belgium promoted to World Group



  • Richard Fleming

Photo: Philippe BuissinBelgian team

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Belgium booked their berth in next year's Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group as they claimed Saturday's doubles rubber to take an unassailable 3-0 lead over Sweden at the Royal Primerose Tennis Club in Brussels.

It means that Sweden will be absent from the World Group for the first time since 2000. Belgium will be back among the elite, after just one year away.

Coming into the tie Swedish expectations were low. In their heart of hearts, they knew the task facing them was a tough one. It was made even tougher by close of play on Friday, following wins in the singles for Belgian pair Steve Darcis and David Goffin.

The Belgium captain, Johan van Herck, called for his team to be ruthless in the doubles. He did not want any loss of momentum, or to give Sweden hope going into Sunday's reverse singles.

His players duly delivered, with Olivier Rochus and Ruben Bemelmans defeating Michael Ryderstedt and Johan Brunstrom in four sets 64 46 63 62.

Van Herck said: "It was a difficult win today. For the first two sets the Swedes were stronger than us."

He added: "The guys deserve to be back. Our place is in the World Group, between eight and 16. Maybe in the coming years we can improve to be seeded."

In the ceremony which followed the day's play, van Herck pointed to Sweden's proud record in the World Group, and challenged his team to try and match it.

For his opposite number, Thomas Enqvist, there is a need for a period of reflection. He explained: "We have an unbelievable Davis Cup tradition in Sweden.

"It's obviously very disappointing that we won't be playing in the World Group next year. Now we just have to re-focus, work hard and try to get back just as soon as we can."

Sweden came into the tie without long-term absentee Robin Soderling and late withdrawal Robert Lindstedt. Enqvist feels with them back in the fold, Sweden may not be away for long.

He said: "At the moment we're depending on a few players, unlike in the old days when we had lots of players.

"If Robin can be healthy and start to play again and if Robert can come back in the doubles, then we are very competitive, but we also need to create more players for the future so this will not happen again."

Ryderstedt and Brunstrom arguably should have won the opening set. Consistency was costly for Ryderstedt in his defeat to Darcis on Friday. Maintaining standards good enough to compete over a sustained period again cost Sweden dear.

For Bemelmans, this was his first doubles win in Davis Cup, and comes at the third time of asking. He admits victory is all the more satisfying as it sealed their return to the World Group.

He said: "To win the deciding point for the team is amazing. It's really exciting for me.

"And I think it's important for all of us - the fans, the federation, for us and for the captain - to be back in the World Group."

Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live

Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) - 15/09/12

Captain Thomas Enqvist (SWE) - 15/09/12

Olivier Rochus (BEL) - 15/09/12

Captain Johan van Herck (BEL) - 15/09/12

  • More photos

    • Belgian teamOlivier Rochus (BEL)
    • Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)Ruben Bemelmans and Olivier Rochus (BEL)
    • Johan Brunstrom and Michael Ryderstedt (SWE) v Ruben Bemelmans and Olivier Rochus (BEL)Ruben Bemelmans and Olivier Rochus (BEL)
    • Olivier Rochus (BEL)Belgian fans
    • Belgium and Sweden doubles teamsJohan Brunstrom and Michael Ryderstedt (SWE)
    • Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)Swedish team

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