Steve Darcis defeated Alexander Zverev 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (8) to send Belgium into the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals with an unsurmountable 3-1 lead over Germany on Sunday.
Darcis, the Belgian No. 1 in the absence of David Goffin, rallied after losing the first set and held his nerve when Zverev saved three match points in the tiebreaker to win in just over three hours.
“That’s why we love the Davis Cup as we have surprises and we had one today,” the 58th-ranked Darcis said. “The difference between us and them is that we are really a team. They have so many great players but we play with the heart, for our country and for the people here.”
The 19-year-old Zverev fired 21 aces, took the first set in under 30 minutes, and appeared to have everything under control until Darcis fought his way back midway through the second set.
Only pride is at stake in the final rubber later Sunday with Germany now facing a relegation playoff in September.
Zverev defeated Arthur De Greef for Germany’s only point on Friday, before losing with older brother Mischa to Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore in Saturday’s doubles.
It’s the first time Belgium has beaten Germany in the Davis Cup at the ninth attempt.