The Sunday News
Simba Jemwa, Sports Correspondent
Zimbabwe have been drawn to face El Salvador in qualifiers for the 2022 Davis Cup finals and are joined in World Group II by African compatriots, Benin, Morocco and Egypt in the race for a World Elite Group spot.
Zimbabwe lost 4-0 to Tunisia last week to end any hope they had of playing with the sport’s elite countries next year. The qualifiers will be played on a home-and-away basis with first round expected to be played on September 16-17 or September 17-18.
Zimbabwe’s Davis Cup captain, Gwinyai Tongoona welcomed the draw and the home advantage.
“I think it’s a good draw for us and also playing at home will be an advantage for us. The team has done well over the years to be in group 2 and recently had a playoff to go into group 1. We want to win this tie and get another chance to try for group 1,” Tongoona said.
“I know the top player is ranked around 650 and is obviously quite good. There are no weak teams in this group and like Syria they’ll be tough,” he added.
El Salvador are ranked 67 in the Davis Cup while Zimbabwe are only four places higher at 63 in the world. Zimbabwe have earned 135.63 points from 10 matches while El Salvador have earned 127 points from seven matches.
Zimbabwe have played in the Davis Cup since 1963 and played in 108 ties (55-53 win-loss) and their opponents in the next round have been at it only since 1991 playing 98 ties (55-43 win-loss)
El Salvador’s best Davis Cup performance was reaching the Americas Zone Group II play-off for promotion to Group which they earned in 2013. In their last Davis Cup tie in March, the central Americans lost 3-1 away to Poland on the indoor hard courts of Arena Kalisz in the city of Kalisz.
The Davis Cup, as history has taught, often gives great surprises and manages to make the technical gap that differentiates the different athletes less evident and heavy. Many top players have experienced first-hand the experience of undergoing the game of a lesser-known tennis player far from the major circuit.
World Group II draw:
China, P.R. (s) (c*) v Ireland
Dominican Republic (s) (c*) v Vietnam
Thailand (s) (c*) v Latvia
Guatemala (c*) v Chinese Taipei (s)
Indonesia (c*) v Venezuela (s)
Estonia (s) (c*) v Pacific Oceania
Egypt (s) (c) v Cyprus
Greece (s) (c*) v Jamaica
Morocco (s) (c) v Monaco
Bulgaria (s) (c*) v Paraguay
Zimbabwe (s) (c*) v El Salvador
Benin (c*) v Hong Kong, China (s)