Dubai: Former Belgian Davis Cup player Niels Desein combined with Dubai-based Dries Depla to help Belgium lift the 26th Nations Cup Men’s Tennis Championships that concluded at the Al Nasr Leisureland late on Friday.
Desein, who was a member of the national team that ended runners-up to Great Britain at the 2015 Davis Cup, was the more dominant player as Belgium clinched the deciding doubles against France in a close final at the ANL tennis courts. Desein had a career-high ATP singles ranking of No 154 in March 2015.
Young Ilyas Anwar had given France the lead after Depla had limped out of his singles match with a stretched hamstring while trailing 2-6, 2-2 in the first singles. Desein then drew level with a 6-1, 6-1 win against Pierre-Antoine Dumas to set up the deciding doubles that the Belgians went on to win 6-3, 1-6, 10-6 against Xavier Masson and Dumas.
“We always knew it was going to be a close final,” Depla told Gulf News.
“As a team we were relying heavily on Niels and I am glad he made it happen for Belgium,” he added.
Disappointed at losing the final, Frenchman Masson complimented Belgium on playing the big points well. “It finally came down to the crunch moments and I think they did a better job than us,” Masson said.
Earlier in the semi-finals, Belgium had got the better of UAE ‘B’ 2-1, while France had defeated United Kingdom.
Nasser Al Marzouqi, Roberta Clarese Julfar and Slah Bramly from Tennis Emirates presented the winners and runners-up trophies and cheques after the final. A total of eight teams including Belgium, France, India, Syria, Tunisia and UK and two sides from the UAE took part in this year’s tournament.