Tennis — Davis CupWednesday, April 9, 2014
Argentina set to play Israel in playoffs
The International Tennis Federation drew Argentina and Israel to meet in September — where the winner continues in the World Group of the Davis Cup and the loser drops down the Continental Zone bracket.
In an attempt to remain in the World Group of the Davis Cup, Argentina will face Israel on September 11-14 in hopes for a win which would assure their spot in the Elite group of the competition in 2015, according to yesterday’s draw made by the International Tennis Federation (ITF)
However, unlike their previous competition against Italy in the first round, which they lost 3-1 in Mar del Plata, the Argentine squad will play Israel as the visiting team at the Ramat Ha Sharon, which houses a cool 6,000 spectators. The series will start on Thursday with the doubles match scheduled for Friday and the reverse singles on Sunday. No sporting activities may be held in Israel on Saturdays due to religious reason.
As for team, Juan Mónaco (42), Federico Delbonis (43), Carlos Berlocq (61), Leonardo Mayer (87), Guido Pella (125) and doubles partner, Eduardo Schwank are all the main candidates set to gear up for the trip.
World number 7, Juan Martín del Potro, a bronze medal winner and perhaps one of the best tennis players to grace the country, is out for an undetermined amount of time due to a recent surgical procedure on his left wrist. Nevertheless, Del Potro had withdrawn from the Davis Cup current season before undergoing the surgery.
Conversely, the both diverse and compact Israeli team, composed of singles specialists, Dudi Sela (73) y Amir Weintraub (219) and doubles partners, Jonathan Erlich y Andy Ram, is part of the reason why this match is drawing national attention.
Jonathon Erlich, part of the 73rd ranked doubles pairing in the world, was born on Argentine soil. The sworn Boca Juniors fan and Belgrano native, moved to Tel Aviv with his parents at a young age. Following the Argentina- Israel selection Erlich displayed his tense excitement of being able to play against his former country.
All in all, however, the anticipated series in September holds greater ramifications in terms of international play, according to spokesman and team captain, Martin Jaite. Jaite, who explained that Israel is not their most competitive opponent, also noted the importance of the match based on the fact that the winner moves on to compete in the World Group, whereas the loser drops down a bracket to the Continental Zone I. As for how they plan to win the series Jaite said, “We will have to have a great performance and aspire to victory. Furthermore, he went on to credit the tough doubles team and the talented singles player, Sela, and assured that Israel will undoubtedlty be an “uncomfortable rival.”
In other playoff series, Serbia and Spain have difficult away trips to India and Brazil respectively. Australia, Canada and the US were given more favourable home draws, with Pat Rafter’s men hosting Uzbekistan, US taking on Slovak Republic and Canada granted a home tie against Colombia. The remaining two ties see Croatia travel to Netherlands in a draw decided by lot, and Ukraine set to host Belgium.
Herald staff with Télam