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09 October 2012

Zone Group I - teams ready for battle


NEWS ARTICLE

Photo: Tommy HindleyFrederik Nielsen (DEN)

All eyes might be on the 100th Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Czech Republic and Spain next month, but there are still two highly anticipated Zone Group I clashes to determine next year's standings.

First up there is an Asia/Oceania Zone Group I clash between Chinese Taipei and New Zealand on 19-21 October. Both teams are looking to maintain their place in Zone Group I and despite holding an impressive 3-0 record over the hosts it is the Kiwis who go into the tie as the underdogs.

Jose Statham and Daniel King-Turner will likely shoulder the burden of the singles rubbers but they will have it all to do if they are to keep their nation in Zone Group I for another year as they are most probably going to be faced by higher-ranked opponents. New Zealand captain Marcel Vos also has at his disposal Michael Venus and Artem Sitak.

Ti Chen and Tsung-Hua Yang will be hoping to give the home fans at Kaohsiung Yangming Tennis Courts something to cheer about in their quest to maintain their place in Zone Group I for the 10th consecutive year. They will be backed up by Liang-Chi Huang and Cheng-Peng Hsieh.

In the weekend's other tie, Finland and Denmark go head-to-head in an all-Nordic affair, with the winner remaining in Europe/Africa Zone Group I and the loser being relegated to Zone Group II.

The visitors have the upper hand on paper, having won six of their previous eight ties against Finland, but the hosts won the most recent encounter between the two nations in 2009 thanks to a strong showing by Jarkko Nieminen.

Another Nieminen, Timo (no relation), will be hoping to do the same this time round but will not have it all his own way if reigning Wimbledon doubles champion Frederik Nielsen has anything to say about it.

Finland's No. 2 Harri Heliovaara will be keen to make amends for his narrow loss to Romania's  Victor Crivoi 46 76 67 63 75 in the decisive fifth rubber of September's first round relegation play-off.

The rest of the Finnish team is made up of world No. 900 Micke Kontinen and Davis Cup rookie Herkko Pollanen.

On the opposite side of the net is even less experience. For the Danes, Nielsen is the only nominated player with a world ranking. He will have to be at his very best if he is to lead Martin Pedersen, Thomas Kromann and Christoffer Konigsfeldt to glory.

Follow all of the action on DavisCup.com with a daily wrap and photos.

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Related ties

TPE Flag Chinese Taipei v New Zealand NZL Flag 19-21 Oct 2012 View details

FIN Flag Finland v Denmark DEN Flag 19-21 Oct 2012 View details

 
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