For the history of tennis, it will remain that the Russian Andrey Rublev scored the first point and that Belgium won the first match of the Davis Cup, which with a new formula, began this Monday in Madrid.
After an opening ceremony in which they wanted to imitate the pomp of the Olympic Games, with the teams parading behind their flag, and that almost touched the ridiculous by the high volume of the music to hide the silence of some half-empty stands on the center court of the Caja Mágica, this new tournament began, in which the prestigious name of the Davis Cup is combined with a competition system that looks like a soccer World Cup.
A total of 18 qualified teams are divided into six groups of three teams. Each point is played to the best of three matches (two singles and double). The group champions and the two best third-parties will play the quarterfinals, already in direct elimination, from Friday until Sunday, when the final will be played.
And all this in a week and in a single venue: the Caja Mágica, the regular venue of the Madrid Open.
– Little environment –
In the absence of the Spain led by the great local star Rafael Nadal coming into action on Tuesday, this Monday the tournament opened with the first duels, among them the one that faced Croatia, current champions of the tournament, with Russia.
The Balkans, however, appear in Madrid with a very decimated team due to the injury of their great star Marin Cilic, winner of the US Open-2014 and with Zeljko Krajan, the coach with whom they won the Salad Bowl last year, ceased just over a week ago.
Despite the fact that the Russians also do not have Daniil Medvedev, number 4 in the ranking and who resigned after participating in the Masters last week, Russia was far superior to Croatia and Karen Khachakov and Andrey Rublev beat Borna Coric, 6-7 ( 4/7), 6-4 and 6-4, and Borna Gojo, by a double 6-3, respectively.
Another of the opening duels was the one that faced Belgium against Colombia, in which the Europeans appeared as favorites, despite the fact that their number 1, David Goffin, has not had a good season and has not scored a single title, although maintains an outstanding ranking (N.11).
– Colombia debuts with defeat –
The veteran Santiago Giraldo, 31 years old, was in charge of breaking the hostilities for Colombia, facing another thirty-year-old, Steve Darcis, who has already announced his retirement after the next Australian Open, losing by a clear 6-3 and 6- two.
Later, the young Daniel Elahi Galán (N.194) surprised Goffin by scoring the first set 6-3, but the Belgian turned the score around to end up adding the second point for Belgium, by a double 6-3.
The couple formed by Robert Farah and Juan Sebastián Cabal, number 1 in the doubles ranking, will play against Sander Gillé and Joran Vliegen without being able to add the first point for Colombia, although the duel is important because the classification of the groups or the best seconds that They get into the quarterfinals they can end up deciding by the number of sets and games won.
Colombia will play its next game on Tuesday against Australia.
On this first day of competition, Canada defeated Italy after two intense individual matches: Vasek Pospisil gave the North Americans the first point, defeating Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7/5) and 7-5 and Denis Shapovalov defeated Matteo Berretini, the great sensation of the season, by 7 -6 (7/5), 6-7 (3/7) and 7-6 (7/5).
On Tuesday, in addition, from Spain, the Argentine team will debut, which will face another South American team, Chile.