Zim miss out on Davis Cup Elite World Group qualification

03 Dec, 2021 - 00:12 0 Views
Zim miss out on Davis Cup Elite World Group qualification Gwinyai Tongoona

The Chronicle

Simba Jemwa, Sports Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Davis Cup team suffered a morale sapping 4-0 loss to hosts Tunisia in a World Group II semi-final encounter last weekend, ending their chances of advancing to the Elite Group.

Zimbabwe were undone on the clay courts of the Tennis Club de Tunis in the capital Tunis, and barely offered resistance.

Zimbabwe only won 27 games and one set compared to 52 games and six sets claimed by their hosts.

Bulawayo boy Mehluli Sibanda got the ball rolling for the tourists when he faced Malek Jaziri in a match that lasted 57 minutes. Sibanda lost 1-6, 0-6 largely due to several unforced errors and a poor first serve.

He only won points from 36 percent from his first serve, while his opponent won 78 percent points from his first serve.

Zimbabwe number one Benjamin Lock was next on the court and was the most competitive among the visitors, matching Aziz Dougaz in match two.

Lock won the first set 6-2, but failed to hold onto his lead in the second set to fall 6-7 before losing 5-7 in the third set.

On Day 2, Malek Jaziri and Skander Mansouri took on the Lock brothers, Benjamin and Courtney, and won the tie 6-3, 6-2.

The hosts won 58 points to Zimbabwe’s 35, including 77 percent available first serve points. The Tunisian pair also won 80 percent of available break points compared to the brothers’ 50 percent.

At this point of the encounter, and with Zimbabwe already out and the Tunisians holding an unassailable 3-0 lead, Zimbabwe Davis Cup captain Gwinyai Tongoona threw in rookie Thabo Ncube for the fourth match against Aziz Ouakaa. Ncube managed to win four games in his first set, which he lost 6-4, before being battered in the second set 6-1.

The fifth match meant to feature Dougaz take and Sibanda was not played.

Tongoona acknowledged that this was a difficult loss for Zimbabwe, as his players had played under difficult conditions given that clay surfaces have always been problematic for Zimbabwe.

“It was a tough loss for us. The conditions were tough, but my team gave it their all. Playing on clay was tough for us as in the past. Going back to the 1990s, we have always struggled on clay,” Tongoona said.

Despite the loss, Zimbabwe stay in the World Group II for next year and their next opponents are expected to be announced by the weekend.— @RealSimbaJemwa

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