Tennis going from strength to strength
By Dmitry Baranovsky
As predicted by many specialists, the match at Minsk’s Palace of Tennis was challenging, with Bosnia and Herzegovina being viewed as the favourites (being ranked higher in the Davis Cup). Significantly, the foremost players on each team differed widely in their world rankings: Vladimir Ignatik is seeded 275th while Bosnian Amer Delic is 210th (ranked 60th in the past). Additionally, two months ago, the Bosnians defeated the strong Turkish squad, while Belarus could only boast a win over the rather average Moldovan team.
During the Minsk matches, the first seeds on each team struggled to claim victory, while Belarusian team second seed Dmitry Zhirmont, 23, managed to defeat Amer Delic. The doubles were confidently won by Max Mirny and Alexander Bury, who quashed their opponents over two tie-breaks. However, the final day was the most interesting, as Ignatik and Delic battled on almost equal footing. In the first set, with the score at 1:6, Vladimir Ignatik managed to claw his way back after a tie-break, to win the set. The third set saw Delic break Ignatik’s serve, but the latter quickly spurred himself into action, finishing the game in his favour.
Ignatik’s dynamic play has opened the path to the next round for Belarusian team, where they’ll face the Polish team for Europe/Africa Group I. Needless to say, the matches will be a true challenge; the leader of the rival squad, Lukasz Kubot, is ranked 51st worldwide, while Fyrstenberg and Matkowski are among the top doubles pairs worldwide.