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By Chris Oddo | Friday November 24, 2017

 
Tsonga

An inspired Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rolled past Steve Darcis in Lille to level the Davis Cup final at one apiece.

Photo Source: We Are Tennis.com

It was quick and it was impressive.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga blitzed Belgium’s Steve Darcis, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 on Friday at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France to level the Davis Cup Final at one rubber apiece.

“Today I did the job, that’s most important," Tsonga said on court after improving his Davis Cup Singles record to 21-11. "It’s one-all now and everything can happen.”

Now the questions begin.

With Saturday’s doubles rubber looming, it will be up to French Captain Yannick Noah to select a squad that can best topple the Belgian pairing of Ruben Bemelmans and Joris de Loore.

But it remains to be seen which players will actually take the court on Saturday. Noah already made a surprising move by ruling out Nicolas Mahut for the final, presumably to give him more singles depth if necessary on Sunday.

Noah may need that depth on Sunday because Lucas Pouille’s week performance against David Goffin in Friday’s first rubber indicates that he may not be up to the task of winning a decisive fifth rubber against Belgian Steve Darcis.

Tsonga had no issues with Darcis on Friday. He mowed down the 33-year-old in one hour and 46 minutes, winning 31 of 33 first serve points and breaking six times on 11 opportunities.


It may have been Tsonga’s best performance of the season and Tsonga’s form will likely play a big role in Saturday’s doubles selection. Having won so quickly while exerting so little energy, it’s likely that Noah will select Tsonga, who owns a 6-1 lifetime record in Davis Cup doubles. He may also insert Gasquet, who partnered Tsonga earlier this season in a doubles victory over Canada.

On the Belgian side we can also expect Captain Johan Van Herck to make some moves. Will he insert Goffin or Darcis, or both?

Neither has the doubles history that Tsonga has, and Belgium will certainly want Goffin rested for his critical fourth rubber against Tsonga.

Tsonga owns the edge in the lifetime head-to-head with Goffin, 4-2, including a win at Rotterdam in the pair’s last meeting this winter.

Let the speculation begin.

 

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