Top-ranked Kazakh Alexander Bublik delivered a strong performance against world No. 8 Casper Ruud to seal victory for Kazakhstan over Norway. Norway entered the tie as the favorite since they had a top-10 player in Ruud and they were also playing in front of their home fans.
Ruud gave Norway the first after beating Mikhail Kukushkin in the opening rubber but Bublik leveled the tie after beating Viktor Durasovic. On Saturday, Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov defeated Simen Sunde Bratholm and Durasovic to give Kazakhstan a 2-1 lead.
The pressure was on Ruud to force a deciding rubber but Bublik had other plans as he defeated the world No. 8 6-4 5-7 6-4 to seal victory for Kazakhstan. “It’s great. That’s a win for the country. That’s what we’re here to do,” Bublik said later.
“Being [in the Finals] for the third consecutive time means we are a consistent team”.
Bublik leads Kazakhstan to a third consecutive Davis Cup Finals appearance
Kazakhstan will make their third Davis Cup Finals appearance later this year as they will be aiming to make it past the group stage for the first time.
“I hope so,” Kazakhstan captain Yuriy Schukin responded when asked if this could be the year that Kazakhstan break through to a first Davis Cup semi-final. “We try hard. Hopefully this year, maybe it’s finally going to happen”.
Schukin was thrilled by the performance his guys delivered as he insisted Norway wasn't an easy opponent. “It means a lot for our country, we have a great team, a great federation who work to help us develop tennis in the country,” he said.
“We’re going to try and do better than last year. I’m proud of my team. It was a great win against a strong opponent, a top 10 player in their team. Today’s [result] was a great match”.