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03 February 2013

Golubev seals victory for Kazakhstan



  • Richard van Poortvliet

Photo: GEPAAndrey Golubev (KAZ)

ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN: Andrey Golubev came from a set down to defeat Jurgen Melzer and book Kazakhstan’s place in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinals. The Kazakh made a mockery of the 157 places between the two in the world rankings as he produced an excellent serving display to deal the world No. 30 his second singles defeat in three days in Astana.

Just as in Saturday’s doubles things didn’t start well for Golubev, who was broken in his opening service game. He was soon back on level terms however, when his opponent double faulted three times in a row. Despite that hiccup the Austrian was playing some excellent tennis and it was no surprise that he moved in front when the Kazakh No. 2 sent a cross court forehand long in the ninth game. Melzer easily served out to take the first set.

“I was a little bit nervous at the beginning and Melzer was playing well," said Golubev. "He changed his game a little bit and that’s why he won the first set, but then I came up with some good returns and some good points from the baseline."

Golubev had a lowly five per cent winning record after losing the first set over his career but he got off to the perfect start in the second, breaking Melzer in the second game. The Kazakh’s serve was now firing on all cylinders and he also began to venture towards the net with greater frequency. Despite having to fend off a couple of break points, Golubev produced a fantastic final service game and levelled the match with his seventh ace of the afternoon.

The initiative was firmly with the home player, who had never lost a Davis Cup singles match at home. Evgeny Korolev had humbled Melzer in the opening singles but the world No. 30 put up quite a fight this time round, with Austria needing him to win to keep them alive in the tie. Melzer put Golubev’s serve under considerable pressure but he was unable to break the Kazakh and the 31 year-old later identified this particular battle as a key part of the match.

“I had a lot of chances up to 3-3 and I had chances at 15-40 and 0-30, but he came up with better shots," conceded Melzer. "He was really taking the initiative and controlling most of the points and that was the problem."

The third looked as though it was heading to a tie-break, only for Golubev to break to love in the seventh game before sealing the set in the tenth when Melzer sent a forehand long.

Inspired, Golubev was roared on by a partisan home crowd and the former world No. 33 moved in sight of victory when he again broke Melzer to love early on in the fourth. The Kazakh earned a double break in the sixth and he would serve out the match with a minimum of fuss to earn a four-set victory in just over two and a half hours and send Kazakhstan through to the quarterfinals.

Agreeing with Melzer, Golubev admitted that holding serve in the third set was the crucial moment in the match and the Kazakh was simply delighted to have brought his side victory.

“I just really wanted to win this match and I was putting a lot of effort into my serve and my returns," said the 25 year-old. "This certainly wasn’t a simple game. I played all three days but I still feel pretty fresh. I think it was tougher for me mentally.”

View the statistics from the matches here Live scores

Andrey Golubev (KAZ) - 03/02/2013

Kazakhstan captain Dias Doskarayev - 03/02/2013

Jurgen Melzer (AUT) - 03/02/2013

Austrian captain Clemens Trimmel - 03/02/2013

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