Zim favourites against El Salvador in Davis Cup

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BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE’S Davis Cup team will be hoping to make good use of its home advantage in its quest for success when it hosts El Salvador in the World Group II play-offs at Harare Sports Club this weekend.

The local team, which is led by non-playing captain Gwinyai Tongoona, is made up of two sets of siblings, the Lock brothers Benjamin and Courtney and the Sibanda brothers Mehluli and Ethan.

Zimbabwe’s match against El Salvador is one of the 12 World Group II play-off ties scheduled for this weekend where the winning nations will progress to the 2022 World Group II ties.

The 12 losing nations will compete in regional Group III events which will all be played on a home-and-away basis in September, which makes this weekend’s encounter a must win for the Zimbabwe team.

Zimbabwe will head into this weekend encounter hoping for a quick return to winning ways against their Central American opponents after losing 4-0 away to Tunisia in the Davis Cup World Group II tie in November last year.

The defeat to the North Africans ended any hope they had of playing with the sport’s elite countries next year.

On the other hand, El Salvador lost 3-1 to Poland last year in March in the World Group II tie.

This sets up a potentially thrilling encounter at Harare Sports Club in what will be the first meeting between the two nations in the prestigious team competition.

On paper, Zimbabwe will head into the tie as the favourites as they are ranked number 63, while El Salvador are four places lower on position 67.

The hosts also appear to have a stronger team on paper with all four players having world rankings while only one El Salvador player features on the ATP world rankings.

Benjamin Lock, who will be celebrating his 29th birthday on Friday, is Zimbabwe’s top ranked player with a singles and doubles ranking of 510 and 221, respectively.

The 31-year-old Marcelo Arevalo, who is ranked 25th in doubles and 664 in singles is the most experienced player in the El Salvador camp while his compatriots Lluis Miralles, Kyle Johnson and 48-year-old Yari Bernado are unranked.

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