GEELONG, AUSTRALIA: Australia, Korea, Republic and Uzbekistan will join India in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania semifinals from 6-8 April, after the three nations all went into Sunday’s reverse singles with unassailable 3-0 leads.
In Geelong, Australia completed a 5-0 whitewash of China. Matthew Ebden, Australia’s second-highest ranked player at world No.83, made his Davis Cup debut a winning one, with a 64 62 defeat of Ya Nan Ma, ranked 941.
Chris Guccione, a natural on grass with his booming lefty serve, followed up his flawless win in the doubles alongside Lleyton Hewitt with a 62 64 win over Wu Di in 52 minutes. Guccione, 26, last played Davis Cup singles three years ago.
Captain Pat Rafter wouldn’t be drawn on the surface for the semifinal with South Korea, only allowing: “We’ve discussed what we want and it’s up to Tennis Australia to find that venue.”
Grass is unlikely because of the mid-autumn dates and the clash with the start of the clay court season in Europe.
In Gimcheon, Korea wrapped up its tie with Chinese Taipei 4-1. Straight-sets results in the reverse singles were a far cry from the marathon first three rubbers. Substitute Min-Hyeok Cho defeated Taipei’s No.1, Tsung-Hua Yang 62 75.
Doubles combatants Jae-Min Seol and Liang-Chi Huang, who battled for over four hours on Saturday, returned to face off in the final rubber. This time it was a straight-forward 76 63 win to Huang, for the visitors’ only point of the tie.
In scenic Tauranga, New Zealand, the hosts won both dead rubbers against Uzbekistan from an all-new reverse singles line-up. Artem Sitak defeated Murad Inoyatov 62 36 63, while Daniel King-Turner, who played in the doubles on Saturday, also needed three sets to get over Sarvar Ikramov 46 64 63.
So Uzbekistan defeated New Zealand 3-2 - a repeat of their tie a year ago, when the Kiwis also won the dead rubbers. The Uzbeks will host top seeds India from 6-8 April.
The losing nations will have to fight to remain in Group I with China, P.R. and Chinese Taipei facing each other in an attempt to avoid a relegation playoff. New Zealand's next match will be determined by the result of Inida against Uzbekistan.