The crowd in the Vorst Nationaal venue in Brussels witnessed a real thriller on Sunday after Belgium had trailed 1-2 overnight. But Belgium's highest-ranked player David Goffin (the world's number 15) first beat Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 to level the score at 2-2, and it was next up to Steve Darcis, who faced Federico Delbonis in the final and decisive match.
Darcis, roared on by the home crowd, eventually fought his way past Delbonis 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6. Darcis made it a thriller, squandering a couple of match points first, before sealing the win in the final tie-break: 7/3.
An explosion of joy followed (photos): after all, it had been 111 years since Belgium last reached the Davis Cup finals in the early 20th century. On the way to the final, Belgium also downed defending champions Switzerland and Canada, but both countries were missing key players. The spot in the final guarantees Belgium a protected status when the draw for next season will be made.
11 hours on court
It was one for the tennis history books yesterday, also thanks to David Goffin. He had sent Schwartzman packing in straight sets earlier on, in what he described as "a perfect performance".
David Goffin had also won his first singles match on Friday (against Delbonis), while Darcis had lost his first clash against Leonardo Mayer (1-1 after the opening day). Darcis also played the doubles match on Saturday, teaming up with left-handed Ruben Bemelmans of Maasmechelen (Limburg).
The tense match against Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer ended in a 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 defeat for the Belgians. Darcis spent a total of 11 hours on the court in 3 days but proved in the decisive match that he was physically okay.
Andy Murray travels to Belgium.. to play on clay?
The Davis Cup finals are taking place between Friday 27 and Sunday 29 November. The venue will be announced on Wednesday, but will be situated on Belgian soil, since the Flemish tennis federation 'Tennis Vlaanderen' is responsible for organising the event.
This means that Andy and Jamie Murray and their colleagues will have to travel to Belgium. The Belgian Team Captain Johan Van Herck is considering opting for clay as the surface.
Can Belgium wipe out a 111-year-old disappointment?
The other finalists, Britain, moved past Australia thanks to Andy Murray, who won his two singles and also the doubles, together with his brother Jamie. The finals will give Belgium a chance to take revenge. The last Davis Cup final that Belgium played in 1904 was against the British Isles.... and resulted in a 5-0 whipping.
Yesterday's historic feat triggered a wealth of reactions on social media, including from the former Flemish tennis diva Kim Clijsters and the former head of the Belgian tennis federation Steven Martens.