The Dutch Davis Cup team is 1-0 behind Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid. Botic van de Zandschulp lost the opening game against Mikhail Kukushkin on Tuesday.
After an hour and five minutes, 6-2 and 6-2 were on the scoreboard in favor of 31-year-old Kukushkin (ATP-67) on the Spanish hard court. The 24-year-old Van de Zandschulp, himself the number two hundred in the world, made his debut in the Davis Cup.
The Dutchman was broken twice in a row against Kukushkin in the first set and thus handed over the set after a 2-2 score. In the beginning of the second set, things went wrong immediately and Van de Zandschulp could not repair that damage either.
Later Tuesday the other parties between the Netherlands and Kazakhstan are on the program. First Robin Haase plays against Alexander Búblik and then doubles Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer against Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
In the new format of the final round of the Davis Cup, the Netherlands is in a group with Kazakhstan and Great Britain. Each international match consists of three matches: two single matches and a double match. The Netherlands will play against Great Britain on Wednesday.
The six group winners and the two best numbers two qualify for the quarter finals (Friday). The semi-finals will be played on Saturday and the final will be on Sunday.