Even without Alexander Zverev, the German tennis men solve the away task in the Davis Cup in Hungary. There will be no tremors.
Jan-Lennard Struff patiently fulfilled all the autograph and photo requests from Hungarian tennis fans. The tension had given way to relief and joy.
In the end, the German tennis men qualified for the group phase of the Davis Cup without any trepidation, even without world-class player Alexander Zverev, and kept their chance of winning their first title since 1993.
Thanks to the successful doubles of Tim Pütz and Kevin Krawietz as well as Struff’s victory on Saturday in Tatabánya, progress to the qualifying game in Hungary was already certain. When Struff made everything clear with the safe 6:3, 6:2 against the Hungarian substitute Mate Valkusz and the point to make it 3:1, the entourage of the German Tennis Federation stood up from their seats. A little later, the team lined up arm in arm for the winning photo.
“We are incredibly happy to be back in the group phase,” said team boss Michael Kohlmann: “We are incredibly relieved, especially me. Because I heard again and again in the run-up to the game that we were the overwhelming favorites and after the cancellation of Sascha, I thought it was a game of equals.”
Zverev has to pass in the short term
A year ago, an opening defeat in Trier against Switzerland – with Zverev – quickly dashed all hopes of a successful Davis Cup season. This time the team proved that they can be strong enough for the first stage goal without the sick Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev, known as Sascha.
From September 10th to 15th, the German Tennis Federation selection will play in the group games to reach the final week. However, according to information from the German Press Agency, unlike in 2022, when Hamburg was the venue, there will be no games in Germany this year.
The German team found the away task in Hungary in front of 6,500 spectators in the sold-out hall extremely unpleasant. The advantage of having a top ten player in Zverev was eliminated when Zverev was canceled on Wednesday. In the end it was a success for the team: Struff, Krawietz/Pütz and Dominik Koepfer, who won on Friday, scored points.
Struff lives up to his role as favorite
The doubles were once again extremely important, confirming themselves as the strength of the German team. Krawietz and Pütz lived up to their role as favorites with a 6:3, 7:6 (7:3) win against Fabian Marozsan and Valkusz. The duo shone wide awake at the beginning and defied pressure and atmosphere in the even second set when they served twice to avoid losing the set. They remained strong nerves in the tiebreak.
“Today we were fortunate to have our doubles again, who have supported us so often and who ensured a certain calm in the hall with an incredible first set. This victory gave Struff a tailwind,” commented Kohlmann.
Struff watched the start of the doubles from the front row behind the boards before he withdrew to prepare. The Hungarians then did not send their ailing top player Marozsan (57th in the world rankings), for whom the Germans had expressed a lot of respect, but rather Valkusz.
The starting position changed suddenly: Valkusz (213th) had never been among the top 200 in the world, Struff is number 24. This also expressed the Sauerlander’s clear role as favorite. And the 33-year-old left no doubt about his success. Struff said afterwards that he was “absolutely happy”. In the end, the fact that he had lost his singles on Friday no longer mattered.
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