Germans Save 6 M.P. To Hold Off Tsitsipas-Led Greece
Germans Andreas Mies/Kevin Krawietz saved six match points and overcame a partisan Greek crowd to beat Greece's Michail Pervolarakis/Stefanos Tsitsipas and give Germany its first tie victory at the 2020 ATP Cup.
Mies/Krawietz, 2019 Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers and reigning Roland Garros champions, fell behind 0/5 in the Match Tie-break as the Greek faithful roared and waved their blue and white flags. But the Germans stepped up and saved match points at 8/9, 10/11, 11/12, 12/13, 13/14, 14/15 before winning their second match point to clinch the team win 3-6, 6-3, 17-15.
“I'm very proud how we came back and we fought hard. And Boris believed in us, the whole team was behind us all the way through and I'm so happy to win it in the end,” Mies said.
“It's an honour to be part of this team and to play these type of matches. That's what you practise for and that's what you play for all these years, to be in this position and to win the match like this. There's nothing better to finish the match point in the end.”
Germany's captain Boris Becker said the team maintained belief against all night against Greece and after its 0-3 tie defeat to Australia on Saturday.
“If it ends like this I don't mind staying all night long here,” Becker said of the doubles match, which finished around 11:30 p.m. “A big compliment to my players here that they kept their nerves. Most other teams would have given up, and they kept their nerves, they kept fighting, they kept believing, and they played well at the end.
“The whole team, even after the 3-0 against Australia, we stuck together. We worked it yesterday, we had dinner together, and then we spoke about how we wanted to approach today, and everybody believed.”
Earlier in singles, Tsitsipas made it five straight wins against World No. 7 Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4 to put Greece within one match win of its first tie victory.
“I'm proud of my singles. Doubles went good as well. I'm very proud of myself the way I played and at the same time I feel disappointed. I came so close and, obviously, we're not the favourites, but we could have been the ones that made the surprise today and we didn't, which is such a shame,” Tsitsipas said.
“It was nuts. People loved it. We got a lot of support, more than them, and that's what makes it more terrible.”
The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion won 83 per cent of his first-serve points against Zverev and broke four times as the German's struggles with double faults – 10 for the night – persisted.
“My serving isn't back yet. Simple as that. I'm doing double faults. I'm serving 120 kilometers an hour, that's not really going to cut it,” Zverev said.
Jan-Lennard Struff started the tie by earning his first victory of the 2020 ATP Tour season, a 6-4, 6-1 win against Pervolarakis. Struff overcame a slow start in which he fell behind a break at 2-3.
But the 29-year-old calmed his nerves and broke twice in the opening set against Pervolarakis, who went 7-8 on the ATP Challenger Tour last season.
“He was playing very aggressive and I didn't find him keen in the first game and I told myself that 3-2 down... I said to myself, 'I need to find a way for to go out there and to battle back now.' And I did find a way and it was very important for me to get myself up again,” Struff said.
It was all Struff from there as the German won nearly 70 per cent (37/55) of his service points for the match.
Struff finished 2019 as the German No. 2 for the first time and at a career-high year-end FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 35. The 6'5” right-hander fell to Aussie Nick Kyrgios in his opening match.