24 teams competed in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Qualifiers on 6–7 March 2020. The 12 winning nations advanced to the 2021 Finals where the four 2019 semi-finalists (Spain, Canada, Great Britain and Russia) and two wildcard nations (France and Serbia) await them.
Relive the highlights of these two days that are an exciting part of the fight for the world title.
Although Croatia started as home favourites with the likes of Marin Cilic in their ranks, India were tough adversaries who, except in the final match, pushed their opponents to the limit. 2018 Davis Cup Champions Croatia eventually prevailed 3–1 thanks to Cilic's own victory over Sumit Nagal. On the second day, the Indians earned their only point of the tie in the doubles.
Attila Balazs and Marton Fucsovics took Hungary into the Finals for the first time with a win over Belgium who were without David Goffin and Steve Darcis. Despite the 2016 and 2017 Davis Cup finalists taking a 2–1 lead after the doubles, the Hungarians – playing at home – were confident of their chances. Balazs tied at 2–2 and in the third set of the fifth match, Fucsovics came from behind to seal a victory that secured their ticket to the Finals.
Colombia had never beaten Argentina before, and Alejandro Falla's debut as captain couldn't have been better. Playing at home in Bogotá, and making the most of the city's altitude, Colombia prevailed 3–1. Daniel Elahi Galán clinched the final point by beating Juan Ignacio Londero hours after Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah's hard-fought 63 67(3) 75 win over Máximo González and Horacio Zeballos.
Everything went according to plan and the USA did not disappoint in Honolulu with a comfortable win over Uzbekistan. The tie marked the farewell of the legendary Mike and Bob Bryan from the competition, taking with them the title they lifted in 2007 alongside Andy Roddick and James Blake. This time it was Reilly Opelka, Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul who, along with the Bryans, won all four points.
A hard-fought victory for the Aussies in Adelaide meant that the Brazilian team missed out on the Finals for a second time. With Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios absent, the Australians pulled through a tie in which everything was tight, full of emotion and suspense. John Millman secured the final third point by beating Thiago Monteiro 67 76 76, sending Lleyton Hewitt's team into a frenzy of excitement.
With Fabio Fognini as their number one, the Italians didn’t falter in their match against South Korea, winning 4-0 and without dropping a single set. The Qualifier between the two countries, played in Cagliari, was held behind closed doors as a precautionary measure in view of the spread of Covid-19 that was already sweeping the country.
Jan-Lennard Struff gave Germany the winning point in the fourth match of this Qualifier in Düsseldorf. The Belarusians ended Friday with a 1–1 draw and Ilya Ivashka and Andrei Vasilevski almost pulled off an upset in the doubles, but in the end Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies won 64 76. Germany will be in the Finals for the second time, aiming to improve on their quarter-final finish in 2019.
Once again Nur-Sultan and its National Tennis Centre proved a formidable stronghold and this time it was the Netherlands who were eliminated. Kazakhstan won 3–1 thanks in large part to rising star Alexander Bublik, who won both his singles matches without dropping a set.
Bratislava hosted this duel between the two neighbouring nations but was unable to produce a home victory. The Slovaks were only able to take the doubles and the Czechs, with two wins from Jiri Vesely and one from Lukas Rosol, sealed qualification for what will be their first Finals.
Unlike in 2019, when they missed out on a place in the Finals at home to Chile, this time Austria were able to qualify. Uruguay could only win one of their matches. Pablo Cuevas triumphed on the first day, but lost on the second to a superb Denis Novak who made his teammates and fans alike jump for joy with a 26 63 64 victory to send his team to fight in the Davis Cup Finals for the first time.
Ecuador pulled off the biggest surprise of the Qualifiers by beating Japan away from home with a brisk 3–0 scoreline. Raul Viver's team was able to take advantage of last-minute Japanese withdrawals as well as the fact that this Qualifier was played behind closed doors following the health regulations already in force in the fight against Covid-19. A historic victory for Ecuador, who will face no less than Spain and Russia in Group A at the 2021 Finals.
Robin Soderling's successful debut as Swedish captain came at the expense of Chile and the team led by Nicolas Massú. Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, who had already secured his point on the first day, was also victorious on the second as the Europeans took the doubles. Sweden will be one of five debutants at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals in 2021.