Zimbabwe’s Davis Cup team missed out on promotion to the Europe/Africa Zone Group Two after losing to hosts Egypt at the last hurdle at the Smash Tennis Academy in Cairo on Saturday night.
The Zimbabwe team finished joint third in the Africa Zone Group Three tournament over the weekend after losing 2-0 to hosts Egypt in a playoff match they needed to win to secure promotion.
This was the first-ever meeting the two teams in a Davis Cup tie and due to the fact that Egypt were buoyed by the home crowd it was always going to be a tall order for Zimbabwe.
In the end it was Egypt who secured promotion to the Euro/Africa Zone Group Two while Madagascar secured the second spot after beating Algeria 2-1.
According to Davis Cup by BNP Paribas website, Zimbabwe’s number three player, Benjamin Lock lost the first match in straight sets 6-0, 6-3 to Egypt’s number two player Sherif Sabry.
All hopes of a comeback were ended when Egyptian number one player Mohamed Safwat dismissed Takanyi Garanganga 6-2, 7-5 leaving the doubles encounter as a mere dead rubber.
Beside Garanganga and Lock, the Zimbabwe team also had Mark Fynn and Freeman Nyamunokora as the non-playing captain.
Zimbabwe started their campaign on a high in Pool A with wins over Ivory Coast (2-1), Kenya (3-0) and Ghana (3-0) before losing to Algeria 2-1 to finish second in their pool.
This set up a tough date with the winners of Pool B, Egypt, who had won all their pool matches over Madagascar (3-0), Nigeria (3-0), Benin (3-0) and a walkover in the match against Rwanda, who withdrew from the tournament.
The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport.
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 the US city of Boston.
Davis himself played in the inaugural Davis Cup event, steering his country to the first of many title victories.
The US has won the Davis Cup 32 times, more than any other nation.
Entering the 2011 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas were 133 countries, with the leading 16 nations contesting the World Group in which Zimbabwe reached the quarter-finals in the country’s 1998 heydays.