Monday,16 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1183, (6 - 12 February 2014)
Monday,16 July, 2018
Issue 1183, (6 - 12 February 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Consigned to play-offs

The Egyptian team suffered an away loss to Moldova in a 2014 Davis Cup tie that took place this week, Ghada Abdel-Kader reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

The defeat against Moldova was sustained by members of Egypt’s team comprised of four players: top seed Mohamed Safwat, Karim Hossam, Sherif Sabri, Mazen Osama and technical director of the Egyptian team Khaled Baligh. The Moldavian team comprised of Radu Albot, Maxim Dubarenco, Andrei Ciumac and Andrei Gorban and team captain Jurie Gorban. Albot is ranked 160, Dubarenco 335, Ciumac721 in the world rankings. Egypt competes within the Europe/Africa Group II round one.

It was a heavy defeat for the Egyptians, who had made an impressive debut in the competition as they clinched the first win of the tie when Safwat beat Maxim Dubarenco 2-6, 2-6, 2-6.

The Moldovans then took it from there and came back from behind to snatch four wins in a row. They seemed to be playing comfortably at home and more experienced as they scored the 4-1 victory over their visitors. Albot beat Hossam 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 3-0 in the second single match. In the double match, Albot and Dubarenco teamed up to beat Sabri and Safwat 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. In the third single match, Albot beat Safwat 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, while Dubarenco defeated Sabri 6-7(6) 6-4, 6-4.

The Egyptian loss has sent the team to the play-offs of the zone competition. In playoffs, Egypt is expected to play another away tie, this time against Ireland on 4-6 April 2014 in Ireland.

Altogether16 countries participated in the Europe/Africa Zone Group II South Africa, Lithuania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Norway and Luxembourg.

Safwat is ranked 207, Hossam 338, Sabri 434, Osama 510 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour world rankings. Nineteen-year-old Osama, considered the youngest player in the team, participated for the first time in the Davis Cup this year. Veteran player Karim Maamoun will participate as a substitute player for the team.

Egypt first played in the Davis Cup in 1929. Its best performance was reaching the Europe/Africa Zone Group I semi-finals, which it achieved in 1982 and 1985. Denmark's first Davis Cup appearance was back in 1921. It was a quarter-finalist in 1988 and also reached the Europe Zone final in 1927, 1950 and 1953.

In 2013, Egypt and Morocco were promoted to the Davis Cup’s
Europe/Africa Zone Group II for 2014 after winning their playoff against Zimbabwe and Madagascar. In the promotional play-off, Egypt defeated Zimbabwe 2-1, while Morocco beat Madagascar 2-0.

A year before, in 2012, Egypt was relegated to Group level III and Ireland remained in Group level II. In the Europe/Africa Zone Group II first round, Latvia defeated Egypt 3-2 in Cairo. In the playoffs, Egypt was beaten by Ireland 3-2 in Cairo.

The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sports. One of the cornerstones of the tennis year, this prestigious event gives players the chance to represent their country in an otherwise individual sport.

Founded by Dwight Davis in 1900, the Davis Cup began as a challenge match between the United States and the British Isles, which was held at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston in the US. Davis himself played in the inaugural Davis Cup tie, steering his country to the first of many title victories.

The US has won the Davis Cup 32 times, more than any other nation. BNP Paribas replaced NEC as title sponsor of the event in 2002 after joining the Davis Cup family as an international sponsor in 2001. Entering the 2010 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas were 133 countries, with the leading 16 nations contesting the World Group.

Photo caption: From left to right: Mazen Osama, Mohamed Safwat, Captain Khaled Baligh, Sherif Sabry, Karim Hossam, Karim Mohamed Maamoun

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