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
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral