Spectacular tennis on capital’s courts
Belarusian national team beats the Irish 4:1 in the first round of the Davis Cup
By Kirill Karin
Hundreds of fans chanting ‘Belarus! Belarus!’, magnificent rallies, intriguing duels between representatives of our country and their Irish counterparts. All of this was seen during the three day event, held at the Republican Olympic Tennis Training Centre between January 31st and February 2nd.
Belarusians could celebrate the victory on Saturday, when the score was 3:0 in the home team’s favour, and the visitors, even with the best will in the world, lost the opportunity to win anything back. On the first day of the competition, Belarusian players, Dmitry Zhirmont and Dmitry Gerasimov easily beat their opponents in their singles matches, making the score 2:0. On Saturday, the doubles match between Max Mirnyi and Alexander Bury and James Cluskey and David O’Hare was really the most spectacular and memorable duel of the tournament.
The Irishmen were very serious about the game, only a victory would give visitors the chance to continue fighting in the next round of competitions. However, their defeat put an end to these hopes. Did the guests have a chance for victory? Yes, they did. During the game, the Belarusian pair had to catch up more than once, winning back set points, and even match points. However, our tennis players pressed their opponents with powerful services, winning games practically with a shutout. The Irish did not concede, fighting their side well, against the Belarusian pairing that performed well on reception and, many times blocked the space near the net. It was a long and emotional struggle, with three of the five sets going to a tie-break. Nevertheless, by the end of the match, the guests could no longer sustain the pressure and lost the fifth set practically without a struggle. The final score, 6:7, 7:6, 5:7, 7:6, 6:2 guaranteed that the Belarusians would progress to the following round of the competition, a fitting match for Max Mirnyi, who was playing his 48th match for the national team in the Davis Cup. As the tennis player said at the post match press conference, he has never faced the question of whether or not to play in the Davis Cup, “…after all, performance for your country is more significant than personal success”.
As it is known, Belarus’ Victoria Azarenko, who was listed in Group 1 matches of the Davis Cup, has refused to play for the national team. According to Max Mirnyi, he hopes that in Victoria’s career “…there will come a right moment”, and that she will again support the country in a Federation Cup. “We should accept her present choice, though all of us understand that her participation increases our chances of success,” said the Belarusian tennis player.