Tennis: Britain to face African challenge

Britain's Davis Cup team will play Zimbabwe in the second round of the Euro/African zone Group One at Crystal Palace from 4 to 6 April, a match in which they should start strong favourites.

Britain had a bye in the first round and Zimbabwe went through when taking a winning 3-0 lead over Ukraine in Harare this weekend. The brothers Byron and Wayne Black gained the winning point by beating Andrei Medvedev and Dimitri Poliakov 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the doubles.

But the decisive blow came on on Friday when the little known Wayne Black beat the celebrated Medvedev 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the opening singles. Byron Black then beat Andrei Rybalko 5-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-3 for a 2-0 lead.

David Lloyd, Britain's non-playing captain, said of the Crystal Palace sell-out: "Everyone knows it will be a tough match. On paper we should be favourites but in the Davis Cup it is never easy to predict. You cannot underestimate anyone, as Wayne Black proved in beating Medvedev. That was a result that no one expected."

If Britain win they will go forward to the World Group qualifying round from September 19 to 21. Victory then would put Britain back in the World Group of the top 16 nations, a place the country lost when they were relegated in 1992.

Arnaud Boetsch salvaged some pride for the beaten Davis Cup holders, France, by defeating Patrick Rafter to prevent a whitewash by Australia in their World Group first-round tie in Sydney yesterday. Boetsch beat Rafter 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 in the final singles match after Australia had wrapped up the tie by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead by winning the doubles on Saturday.

Sandon Stolle gave Australia the chance of a 5-0 victory when he defeated the French No 1, Cedric Pioline, 7-6, 6-4 in the first of the reverse singles.

Boetsch's win over Rafter came as small consolation for France, who only nine weeks ago had won a dramatic 3-2 Davis Cup final against Sweden in Malmo.

South Africa lined up a probable second-round tie away to former champions Sweden in April after victory over Russia in their match in Durban yesterday. The South African pair of Ellis Ferreira and Grant Stafford outclassed Andrei Olhovskiy and Andrei Cherkasov 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 in the doubles to give the home side a winning 3-0 lead.

Carlos Moya sealed Germany's exit in Mallorca yesterday when he overpowered Hendrik Dreekman 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. Spain eventually won the tie 4-1.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss