09/18/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2021 17:08
Bolivia is one step away from its biggest win in Davis Cup history after a dream day in World Group I against Belgium at the Rakiura Resort in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Murkel Alejandro Dellien stole the spotlight from his brother Hugo today with a huge 6-4 4-6 6-2 win over Zizou Bergs, his first victory over a player ranked in the Top 200.
The more than 1,100 places that separate them in the rankings evaporated on the clay. The Bolivian captain Oscar Blacutt justified, yesterday, his nomination: Murkel's aggressive game could hurt the Belgians, and so it has proved.
It seemed as if the responsibility of replacing top-seeded David Goffin, absent due to a knee injury, overwhelmed the 22-year-old Zizou Bergs. The emerging youngster arrived at the event with his best ranking at number 191 and great results on clay, but it was not enough. He was uncomfortable also with some physical discomfort that saw him finish the match with visible difficulty to even walk.
The magic of the Davis Cup has transformed the protagonists and Murkel Dellien appear even more solid in the final set, which he won with authority.
Hugo Dellien fulfilled his role
Bolivia got off to a good start in its quest for a place in the Qualifiers (or in the Knock-outs in November if its ranking does not allow direct qualification) thanks to the victory of its No. 1 Hugo Dellien against Belgian No. 2 Ruben Bemelmans 6-3 6-4.
On his favourite surface, the world No. 144 managed to hold off his experienced opponent, currently 221st in the world and a benchmark for the Belgian team with 23 ties played, including the finals of 2015 and 2017. Taking advantage of the two break opportunities he had in the first set, the 'Tiger of Moxos' settled in the match without any major problems with his serve.
The second set was even more hard-fought, in which Bemelmans took advantage of the only chance he had to break the Bolivian's serve, but again Dellien got two breaks in the set to win the match in 1h 17min.
Thanks to his victory, Dellien reaches seven consecutive wins in Davis Cup singles matches, becoming once again the main asset of his team in the quest to reach new milestones in the competition.
A date with history
Bolivia does not want to wake up from the dream and this Sunday has a date with history. Just three years ago they were in Americas Group II, and now they are looking for their fourth straight victory in the competition to get to the cusp of the Qualifiers.
It remains to be seen if Oscar Blacutt will introduce changes for Sunday's doubles match, or reserve Hugo Dellien for the next singles. The match seems complicated for the Bolivians, who will face the experienced pairing of Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, with a long career together, and winners of two titles this year (Singapore and Astana).
The two singles that will decide the series will pit Hugo Dellien and Zizou Bergs, and Murkel Dellien against Ruben Bemelmans.