"It was a tough match. The first one of the competition is always difficult,” said Steve Darcis after opening Belgium’s run in the ATP Cup with a three-hour-ten-minutes 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-5 victory against Moldova’s Alexander Cozbinov.
“I didn't know too much what to expect, but Alex played a great match for the first time on a big stage," the former World No. 38 said. "Of course when you have the team behind you, when you have the crowd, it pushes you.
You know you're going to fight till the end." Set to retire after the 2020 Australian Open, the Belgian is surely giving his most to represent his country. "I think today the big goal is to finish 3-0,” Darcis had said right after his match.
Every victory counts in the ATP Cup’s format. By the time the round robin phase comes to an end, a team either has to be the first of its group or figure among the two best-performing seconds over the remaining 18 selections to pass to the direct elimination round.
David Goffin won against Radu Albot to secure Team Belgium's tie win, but Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen were the ones who made sure to hit the selection's objective by overthrowing Albot and Cozbinov 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 11-9.
“I think we were the favorite, but it's always difficult even if you are [the] favorite," Darcis concluded. "When it's a team competition, everybody is fighting like hell."