31 Jan - 02 Feb 2014, Tali Tennis Center, Helsinki, Finland, Hard, Indoor
Finland take on Bulgaria in Helsinki in a repeat of a Group II first round match from last year. On that occasion, the Finns secured a narrow 3-2 victory, despite the best efforts of Bulgarian No. 1, Grigor Dimitrov, who won both of his singles rubbers for the loss of only six games. The overall head-to-head record is tied at two wins for each nation.
Following their victory over Bulgaria in the first round, Finland recorded a comfortable victory over Ireland in the quarterfinals, setting up a semifinal tie with Latvia. Despite getting off to a good start, with Micke Kontinen winning the first rubber, the Latvian No. 1, Ernests Gulbis, managed to win both of singles rubbers and successfully teamed up with Mikelis Libietis in the doubles to win promotion for Latvia and consign Finland to another season in Zone Group II.
Bulgaria bounced back from defeat to Finland in the first round by easing to victory against Estonia in the relegation play-off. Even without Dimitrov, the Bulgarians won both singles rubbers in straight sets, before Tihomir Grozdanov and Alexander Lazov joined forces to win a dramatic five-set tussle with Mikk Irdoja and Vladimir Ivanov, and in so doing confirm Bulgaria's place in Zone Group II for 2014.
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