Portuguese take revenge
Belarus’ national team suffers defeat from Portugal in the 3rd match of Davis Cup Europe / Africa Zone Group II
This became apparent after the first seed of the Belarusian squad, Vladimir Ignatik, lost in three sets to the leader of the Portuguese, João Sousa — 1:6, 1:6, 4:6. After four meetings, this left the score at 3:1 in favour of Portugal, who welcomed Belarusians on the clay courts of their tennis club in Viana do Castelo.
The final meeting between Yegor Gerasimov (ranked 302) and Rui Machado (seeded 254th) couldn’t influence the result of the match. The Belarus team remain for the next season in the Davis Cup Europe / Africa Zone Group II (the third division) while the Portuguese receive a ticket to the Davis Cup Europe / Africa Zone Group I.
Nevertheless, Yegor Gerasimov, who brought victory to Belarus in his first game, earned one more point for his squad, defeating the Portuguese reserve player Rui Machado, who appeared on court instead of the previously planned Gastão Elias — 6:7 (3:7), 6:1, 6:4.
The first two days of the competitions saw three matches, with Yegor Gerasimov claiming a victory over the leader of the Portuguese squad, João Sousa (0:6, 1:6, 6:2, 6:2, 6:4) and number one of the Belarusian team, Vladimir Ignatik, losing to the second seed of the rivals — Gastão Elias (3:6, 6:7, 5:7). This was followed by a doubles match, where Max Mirnyi and Sergey Betov suffered a dramatic defeat in five sets by the Portuguese duo of João Sousa and Gastão Elias — 6:7 (3:7), 6:4, 3:6, 7:6 (7:5), 3:6. The game lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes.
Previously, the national teams of Portugal and Belarus had met on only one occasion. In 2002, the Belarusians defeated them confidently in Minsk 4:1 in the play-offs of the Europe / Africa Zone Group I. In the current Davis Cup rating, the national team of Belarus is ranked 47th while the Portuguese are 42nd.
By Kirill Karin
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