Davis Cup 2021: Germany produce stunning tie-break fightback to upset GB to progress to the semi-finals
In a match filled with quality, especially on serve, it was the Germans who would come from behind to beat the Brits, with Puetz and Krawietz following up Struff's victory over Cameron Norrie earlier. Evans' win over Gojowczyk ultimately meant nothing as Leon Smith's side fall at the last eight stage. Stream the 2021 Davis Cup live and on-demand on discovery+
Germany produce stunning tie-break fightback to upset GB to progress to the semi-finals
Germany are into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup, upsetting Great Britain 2-1 in Innsbruck.
Dan Evans had paved the perfect path to the semi-finals for Great Britain with an emphatic 6-2 6-1 win over Peter Gojowczyk of Germany in the quarter-finals in Innsbruck but Jan-Lennard Struff would down Cameron Norrie before Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz beat Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury to seal the comeback win.
The British veteran Evans did brilliantly to adapt when initially timetabled to face Dominik Koepfer, as Gojowczyk stepped in but ultimately to no avail. But later on, Struff overcame Norrie, 7-6 3-6 6-2, to take the tie to 1-1. And Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz completed the comeback beating Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury 7-6 7-6.
'Superb' - Watch the moment Evans closes out victory for Britain against Gojowczyk
Evans was on fire in the first few minutes, breaking serve twice going into a 4-0 lead inside the opening quarter of an hour, and that set the tone for a dominating performance for the world number 25, as he matched his opponent’s heavy-hitting with accuracy and spectacular winners to cruise to victory in the opening rubber of the quarter-final tie.
One could say that the highlight of the match was the teeing-up of Evans’ match point: a delicious backhand winner down the line, past the approaching Gojowczyk, who looked dumbfounded to see his crashing forehand pummelled back past him.
Highlights: Evans downs Gojowczyk to give Britain lead over Germany in quarter-final
"I didn't play great the other day and decided to stay cross court a lot of the match and give myself a big opportunity," Evans said after the match.
"I worked hard and that was the story of the match - make him take the ball down the line.
'Some of the best tennis I've played all year' - Evans delighted with win over Gojowczyk
"Probably the best tennis I played all year- I didn't feel good this morning. I saw Peter warming up and going into the food area - I had an idea [he would be playing].
"It's difficult - I don't want to say it should be changed but I think something could be done about changing the team the hour before, because it's not the best preparation."
Later, Struff levelled up the tie at one rubber apiece as he outplayed Norrie, beating the Briton in a match that went the distance.
'What a battle' - Struff scraps past Norrie to level quarter-final for Germany
In a high-quality contest, both players pulled shots out of the very top drawer in a ding-dong battle that could well have gone either way, but the German Struff would just raise his game at the most important moments to seal a victory that left the quarter-final beautifully poised.
The big-serving Struff hit heavily, looking to power through his slighter opponent, but with smaller stature comes craft and panache, and that was fully on display as Norrie played his best tennis at times, but couldn't keep up with the fast-paced tempo that the German wanted to maintain.
I'm very happy the way I played today, Cam Norrie is a very tough competitor, who is fighting very hard. The court is very bouncy and his spin-balls are very hard to play.
"The victory is very important for us now, one-all. It's tough - I had the feeling I had to put the pressure on him - I made it today."
'Norrie is a tough competitor' - Struff on winning quarter-final rubber
Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz would then beat Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury 7-6 7-6 to ensure their place in the semi-finals.
In a match filled with quality, especially on serve, it was the Germans who would come from behind to beat the Brits, with Puetz and Krawietz following up Struff's victory over Norrie earlier. Evans' win over Gojowczyk ultimately meant nothing as Leon Smith's side fall at the last eight stage, with Puetz and Krawietz playing out of their skins to overcome the talented and experienced British pair of Skupski and Salisbury.
Both sets were decided by tiebreakers - Puetz and Krawietz would win seven points in a row in the second to come back from 0-5 down, on top of the first marathon tiebreak that would finish 12-10.
It was a match where there were no breaks of serve at all, and it would take Krawietz until his fifth service game to actually drop a point on his delivery, such was the quality of service.
Skupski and Salisbury can be disappointed at losing out in such a close and competitive contest. They had their chances, but ultimately, they came up against a pair so inspired to win, delivering at the crucial points and stringing runs of points together at the right times to ensure a comeback victory for Michael Kohlmann's Germany, who, it must be stated, were without star player and ATP World Tour Finals champion Alexander Zverev.
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