BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Australia took a 2-1 lead against Belgium on Saturday after easily winning their Davis Cup semi-final doubles in three sets.
The 6-3 6-4 6-0 victory by doubles world number two John Peers and his partner Jordan Thompson over Ruben Bemelmans and Arthur de Greef leaves the Belgians needing to come from behind to reach the final, as they did in 2015.
Belgium’s David Goffin, the world number 12, will face the unpredictable world number 20 Nick Kyrgios on Sunday, while Australian John Millman, ranked 185, will take on Steve Darcis, 77.
Australia went into the doubles as the favourites and dominated from the start, quickly breaking service in the first two sets, as Peers overcame some early hiccups on his serve to find some powerful deliveries.
Belgium missed a chance to break back in the second set, never recovered and were eventually dispatched in just over 90 minutes.
“It was hard, they were very strong,” said De Greef, who is ranked 944 on the doubles circuit and who struggled both at the net and trying to return Peers’s service.
“That was pretty clinical, the boys came out and executed brilliantly,” Australia’s coach Lleyton Hewitt told reporters.
Goffin, returning from a knee injury and who took some three-and-a-half hours to defeat Millman on Friday, has lost his three encounters with Kyrgios, although the match will be their first meeting on clay.
Belgium are bidding to appear in the final again after losing out to Britain in 2015, while Australia are looking for a first title since 2003. Australia have not beaten Belgium since 1991.
The weekend’s winners will face the victors of the other semi-final between France and Serbia who are playing in nearby Lille.
Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Clare Fallon