THE Zimbabwe Davis Cup team went down fighting when they lost 2-1 to the host and favourites Egypt in the playoffs of the 2013 Africa Zone Davis Cup Group III tournament at Cairo’s Smash Tennis Academy in Egypt on Saturday.
The win saw the hosts alongside Morocco, who won their play-offs against Madagascar, receive promotion to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group II for 2014.
Zimbabwe did not have the best start as Mark Fyn lost the first singles match in the playoffs to Egypt’s Sabry Sherif who won 6-2, 6-2 to give the Egyptians the advantage as they went 1-0 up.
The second match was the major highlight of the whole competition as Zimbabwe’s top seed Takanyi Garanganga took on Egypt top seeded Mohamed Safwat in a cracker of a game that lasted 2 hours and 38 minutes.
The match lasted three sets with Garanganga winning the first set 6-4. The Zimbabwean continued to dominate the Egyptian in the second set taking a 3-0 lead before Safwat fought his way back into the game with the backing of the fans to claim the second 7-6.
Tables had turned as Safwat sped to a 3-0 lead in the third set, but Garanganga came back strongly capitalising on Safwat’s consecutive double faults and netting an easy volley on Zimbabwe’s second match point to give Zimbabwe the match after, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4.
Garanganga’s win levelled the tie at 1-1 with the winner being decided on the doubles match.
The Zimbabwean duo of Garanganga and Fyn failed to secure the much-needed win in the doubles as they went down 6-3, 7-5 to Safwat and Sabry.