If anyone had thought that Denmark’s surprise victory against No. 2 seed France had been a flash in the pan, two more wins and a first-place finish in Group D of the Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals should quickly dispel that notion.
The team recorded another memorable triumph on Thursday, with Elmer Moller and Holger Rune defeating Uruguay’s Juan Martin Fumeaux and Francisco Llanes in a deciding doubles rubber to secure progress to the last eight.
“I’m very proud, we didn’t expect to go this far so it’s been very good,” captain Lars Christensen said after the tie. “It’s been deciding doubles every time and normally these two guys are not known as the best doubles team ever, so it was a very good achievement to win the doubles every time.”
Moller and Rune seemed equally surprised at their proficiency in doubles this week.
“I think mostly we are surprised that we won so many doubles,” Moller laughed. “We always lose the doubles.”
Both players have contributed to Denmark’s success this week in singles too. Moller, in particular, has toiled away in the opening rubber each day – having lost a three hour, 20 minute match on Wednesday, he recorded his first singles victory of the week on Thursday, defeating Fumeaux 57 75 64 in three hours and 25 minutes to put Denmark ahead.
After two straight sets wins in singles on the opening two days, Rune was surprisingly out of sorts on Thursday, falling to Llanes 62 64. But he found his form in the doubles again to see his nation through to the last eight.
Were the players allowing their minds to wander and picture themselves hoisting the trophy on Sunday?
“We take it one match at a time,” Moller said immediately. “One match, one match,” Rune agreed, before adding with a smile, “but of course we dream.”
France sneak into quarterfinals while Brazil dream of title
Despite winning European qualifying and being seeded second for this event, France has endured an up-and-down week in Budapest – but ultimately made it through to the last eight on Thursday.
Victory against Australia, secured when Martin Breysach and Lilian Marmousez defeated Tai Sach and Cooper White in the doubles rubber, saw the French squeak into the quarterfinals after finishing runner-up in Group D.
The top two teams in Groups A, B and C had been decided after the first two days of play, but the three of Thursday’s match-ups saw teams battle it out to finish in first place and secure an advantageous position in the quarterfinal draw.
One of the winners from Thursday was Brazil, who fought their way to victory over Great Britain – and, having also defeated USA and Uzbekistan in Group B this week, the Brazilians seem confident ahead of the knockout rounds.
“I had to be patient, but I did so well off my forehand to find the right shots. Now we must believe we can go far,” Natan Rodrigues said after defeating Felix Gill to win the tie. “We have to push and give everything, then who knows?”
In Group A, top seeded Italy decided to rest US Open boys’ singles finalist Lorenzo Musetti in singles – and opponents Japan took full advantage, impressing throughout their tie with the No. 1 seeds and securing a 2-1 win after Kei Manaka and Shunsuke Mitsui defeated Musetti and Luca Nardi in the deciding doubles. Japan finish in first place, while the Italians must settle for second.
Meanwhile, Spain overcame Argentina in a high-quality contest to claim top spot in Group C, with Mario Gonzalez Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz Garfia both posting three-set wins to secure the victory for the Spanish.
Friday’s quarterfinal ties are:
Japan (5) v Argentina (4)
Brazil (7) v France (2)
Spain (6) v Great Britain
Denmark v Italy (1)