INNSBRUCK, Austria (Reuters) -Jen-Lennard Struff kept Germany alive in their Davis Cup Finals last-eight tie against Britain with an inspired performance to defeat world number 12 Cameron Norrie in Innsbruck on Tuesday.
Germany were up against it after Britain’s Dan Evans thrashed Peter Gojowczyk 6-2 6-1 in the first singles.
But Struff rose to the challenge to win 7-6(6) 3-6 6-2 — finishing the match with a flurry of powerful winners.
The tie will now be decided with a doubles clash between Britain’s Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski and German duo Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz.
Struff, the world number 51, dominated early on with his powerful groundstrokes and booming serve, moving 4-1 ahead.
But Norrie ground his way back into the match and won five of the net six games to serve for the first set.
Struff broke back though and then saved two set points in the tiebreak from 4-6 down before edging a tense opener with a backhand winner on a set point of his own.
Norrie quickly re-grouped to level the match and set up a deciding set in the largely empty Olympiahalle — a result of Austria’s COVID-19 restrictions.
It looked as though Struff was tiring as he was forced to battle to hold serve early in the decider but he broke Norrie’s serve for a 4-2 lead and then held his own with an ace.
He then made it four games in a row to break Norrie’s serve again and seal victory.
While the second singles was a ferocious scrap, the first had been all too easy for Evans who won in 55 minutes.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman in London; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis)