Germany captain Michael Kohlmann declared his team ready for Malaga after Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz joined forces to propel their nation to the Final 8 of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals as Group C winners.
Krawietz and Puetz triumphed 6-4, 6-4 against Australia’s Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden as the concluding tie of the Group Stage in Hamburg was decided by doubles following earlier singles victories for Jan-Lennard Struff and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
It has proven a highly productive week for Germany, winning all three of the ties they have contested on home soil after contending with the enforced withdrawal of world No. 5 Alexander Zverev a day before the competition began.
Germany rallied from that setback and progressed to the world cup of tennis’s Final 8, where its quest for a fourth Davis Cup title – and first since 1993 – will continue with ever-increasingly intensity.
It will be Germany’s fourth quarter-final appearance in as many seasons, and Kohlmann's men will meet Canada for a place in the last four on 24 November. While acknowledging Canada has significant strengths, the German captain has absolute confidence in the ability of his charges.
I am already looking forward to the tie against Canada in the quarter-finals. Canada are a strong team but I believe whoever is on the German team has a good chance
“We’re ready,” said Kohlmann. “This week showed that it doesn’t matter who is on the team, anybody can be on top of it, be part of the team and get the points we need.
“I am not counting anymore but I believe it is the seventh time that Kevin and Tim have got the job done with the tie at 1-1, which is pretty amazing. They deserve a lot of credit.
“I am already looking forward to the tie against Canada in the quarter-finals. Canada are a strong team but I believe whoever is on the German team has a good chance.”
Kohlmann is quite correct. Krawietz and Puetz have now joined forces on seven occasions when the tie has been finely balanced at 1-1, and each time they have risen to the challenge and guided their nation to victory.
I am not counting anymore but I believe it is the seventh time that Kevin and Tim have got the job done with the tie at 1-1, which is pretty amazing
“It was much more important to get the win against Belgium on Friday compared to today quite honestly, but winning three out of three ties this week and finishing top of the group is a cherry on the cake,” said Puetz.
Australia, meanwhile, who finished as Group C runners-up face Netherlands in the quarter-finals, and captain Lleyton Hewitt believes events in Hamburg have strengthened his hand ahead of the Final 8.
Purcell and Jason Kubler both impressed this week in their maiden Davis Cup appearances, while Kokkinakis also stood firm in just his second Davis Cup tie since 2015.
“We came here to qualify and it’s nice to be in the quarter-finals,” said Hewitt, who insisted after the tie that he was unconcerned whether Australia finished top of Group C or advanced to Malaga as runners-up.
“We know how hard it is going to be in Spain and we will put together our best options to take this team forward and give ourselves the best chance," said Hewitt.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the five guys that I have had here this week. I said at the start that it was going to be a big team effort from these guys to pull together and qualify and I am just thrilled.
“I am particularly thrilled for a couple of first-timers in Max and Jason. For them to go through the experience of playing for Australia and wearing the green and gold for the first time, it is not something you shy away from.
“It is a massive personal milestone in their careers, and both handled the situation well.”
I couldn’t be prouder of the five guys that I have had here this week
Both nations had already secured a top-two finish in Group C after returning a 100 per cent record from earlier Group Stage wins against France and Belgium. This tie was all about top spot and advancing to Malaga with as much momentum as possible.
Australia remained in contention to progress to the Final 8 as group winners after a composed Kokkinakis dispatched Oscar Otte, who awaits his first Davis Cup match-win, to haul Australia level.
Kokkinakis was contesting his first match of the Group Stage after feeling under the weather for most of the week, but his patience was rewarded as he powered past Otte 7-6(6), 6-1.
Australia were trailing in the tie after Jan-Lennard Struff continued his impressive form by overpowering Purcell, which at the time fired Germany to within a match-win of victory.
Struff made light work of Purcell, who holds a singles ranking of No.226 and was playing his first Davis Cup singles match having appeared exclusively in doubles so far this week. However, Purcell confirmed after his match that going forward he intends to focus more on singles.
On this occasion, Struff prevailed 6-1, 7-5 to post his third triumph of the Group Stage, following previous successes against France’s Benjamin Bonzi and Zizou Bergs of Belgium, as he continues to find his groove following a frustrating campaign.
A foot injury and subsequent indifferent form has seen the 32-year-old slip to No. 132 in the world rankings, having been a top 30 player in 2020, although the tide would appear to be turning.