For all his individual brilliance, David Goffin could not make up for the lack of depth in Belgium’s Davis Cup final team.
Looking for a first title in the team competition, Belgium lost a second final in three years on Sunday, going down 3-2 to France.
Belgium were guided by an impressive Goffin and spurred on by their raucous fans in the northern city of Lille, close to the Belgian border.
Belgium took the final to the second reverse singles where Steve Darcis was routed by Lucas Pouille.
The French, with a team featuring Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Pouille, Richard Gasquet and doubles specialist Pierre-Hugues Herbert, were favourites to win their 10th title.
But the seventh-ranked Goffin proved a problem for the hosts throughout the weekend, winning his two singles matches against Tsonga and Pouille without dropping a set.
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 26, 2017
“The best player this weekend was on the Belgian side,” former world No.1 Justine Henin of Belgium said.
France made a crucial step toward the title by winning Saturday’s doubles, and the 76th-ranked Darcis was outclassed in both his singles matches.
After recovering from an ankle injury he sustained at the French Open, Goffin finished the year on a personal high note.
Before losing to Grigor Dimitrov for the ATP Finals title in London last week, he claimed back-to-back titles at Shenzhen and Tokyo.
He demolished Pouille on Friday and delighted the crowd with a vast array of stunning shots against Tsonga.
“I played my best tennis,” Goffin said.
Goffin, who has not lost a Davis Cup singles match since losing to Andy Murray in the 2015 final, improved his singles record in the competition to 21-3.
“When the team loses, we’re all disappointed. We gave it our all,” Goffin said. “It’s tough to finish this way but we did a lot of good things as a team this year … We’ll see how things go (next year).”
Belgium captain Johan Van Herck said the highlights of his weekend were “the two matches of David” but insisted he was proud of his team.
“One day I’m sure we will win the Davis Cup,” he said.
Darcis, the weak link of the Belgian team with two straight-set losses, submitted himself to harsh self-criticism.
“I was bad,” Darcis said. “I was spanked twice.
“I’m appalled by my performance.”
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