A first win in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas for Andreas Beck and Christopher Kas secured Germany’s place in next year’s World Group, as the hosts moved into an unassailable 3-0 lead over South Africa with victory in the doubles rubber.
Neither Beck nor Kas had ever savoured success in Davis Cup, either in singles or doubles, but they finally broke their duck here in Stuttgart, overcoming Wesley Moodie and Rik de Voest 64 36 63 64.
The excitable Stuttgart crowd were on their feet at the end, celebrating the German win, which put paid to South Africa’s hopes of a return to the World Group for the first time since 1998. Beck even gave a little leap of joy into the unsuspecting arms of his teammate Kas, before milking the cheers of his home fans.
Local hero Beck secures World Group status
For local boy Beck, it was a moment to savour. He said: “For me it’s an unbelievable feeling. I was playing for the first time at home. Davis Cup in my home town. I’m lost for words.”
The German team captain, Patrik Kuhnen, spoke of the importance to remain among the Davis Cup elite: “Davis Cup is very special, and the public focus is a bit stronger in the World Group. And, depending on the draw for us – home or away – it’s a new challenge for us next year, and playing in the World Group is a real motivating factor for our players.”
De Voest was the only man to drop his serve in the first set, as Germany edged it 64. Doubles specialist Moodie proved inspirational in the second set, and with de Voest busy at the net, the visitors broke Kas in game four on their way to a 63 win.
A couple of key moments favoured Germany in sets three and four. De Voest allowed a return to pass him by in game eight of the third, thinking it was going long. It dropped good, and Kas punished him moments later to break for the hosts. Germany held serve, and wrapped up the third set 63.
And then twice in game seven of the fourth set, German returns clipped the net, wrong-footed the South African pair, and dropped in. Those points ultimately led to a break of serve, and gave Beck and Kas the breathing space they required to win the set 64 and complete their victory with a day to spare.
Consistency was the key
Moodie admitted: “Yes, there were key moments which went their way, but it’s not entirely down to luck. They played consistently better than us, and took their chances when they came along.”
South Africa’s preparations were disrupted just hours before the start of play, when Jeff Coetzee pulled out with a hamstring injury, to be replaced by de Voest. South Africa’s team captain, John-Laffnie de Jager, sighed: “We know what Wesley and Jeff are capable of in doubles, so this was a real setback for us.”
But, despite being 3-0 down, de Jager dismissed talk of throwing in the towel for Sunday’s reverse singles: “That’s not in our nature. These guys are proud South Africans, who love representing their country. There’s no way they’ll take it easy on Sunday because we don’t want to be losing this five zip.”
The reverse singles on Sunday – now dead rubbers – will begin with Philipp Kohlschreiber against Izak van der Merwe, followed by Florian Mayer versus Rik de Voest.