LA PAZ, BOLIVIA: The teams from Panama, Bahamas and Bolivia are leading the way in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group III, being played in the La Paz Tennis Club in Bolivia. In Pool A, the Bolivian team have qualified for the promotion play-offs after securing their second consecutive victory. Meanwhile, Panama and Bahamas are currently in the qualifying positions in Pool B, but with teams below having played fewer matches, that could all change.
The Bolivian team disposed of their nearest rivals, and the top seeds in Pool A, Paraguay, with little trouble. The resounding 3-0 victory added to the momentum they had already generated, with the home side being backed vociferously by the La Paz crowd from the very first minute.
Federico Zeballos was the first player out and he got Bolivia off to the perfect start with a 63 64 victory over Juan Carlos Ramirez. Bolivia’s No. 1 player, Hugo Dellien appeared to be suffering from nerves early on and he lost the opening set 61 against Jose Benitez. However, the Bolivian fought back and, with the support from the crowd, he won the next two sets 63 61. Dellien then teamed up with Boris Arias to defeat Juan Carlos Ramirez and Jose Benitez 63 64 in the doubles. With two wins from two ties, Bolivia move into the play-offs.
The Jamaican team, led by Dominic Pagon, overcame some difficulties to defeat Cuba 2-1. In the opening singles rubber, Cuban Randy Blanco showed off his elegant style to defeat Brandon Burke 64 76(6).
However, Dominic Pagon levelled the tie for Jamaica, comfortably defeating William Dorantes Sanchez 61 62. In the doubles rubber, The Cubans won the first set 64 but Jamaica fought back, taking the next two sets 63 76(4) to claim the vital point in two hours and give Jamaica their first win.
Bahamas, having had a day off prior to their match against Bermuda, moved to the top of Pool B after recording a 3-0 victory over their Caribbean rivals. Devin Mullings held off some good play from his opponent Gavin Manders to take a close opening set 75. He then eased to victory, claiming the second set 60 to give Bahamas a 1-0 lead.
Kevin Major had fewer difficulties in overcoming Na’im Azhar, winning 64 62 to give Bahamas an insurmountable 2-0 lead in the tie. In the doubles, Jamaal Adderley and Marvin Rolle again encountered a few difficulties, but ultimately prevailed, defeating Jenson Bascome and Gavin Manders 76(2) 63.
Panama showed great fighting spirit in their opening defeat against Bahamas, and two consecutive victories, first against Bermuda and now against Honduras, have put Panama in a great position to challenge for a play-off place. Their match on Wednesday against the confident Hondurans was not an easy one, especially after the Central Americans had recorded a good win over Costa Rica the day before.
Panama produced another gutsy performance, with each rubber of their tie with Honduras going to a deciding fifth set. In the first singles rubber, Honduras’ Ricardo Pineda defeated Luis Fernando Garcia 36 61 63. Walter Espinoza then levelled the tie at 1-1 when he defeated Alejandro Obando 63 57 61.
That meant that the match moved to a deciding doubles rubber. Walner Espinoza partnered John Silva, Panama’s captain and most experienced player, to take on Hondurans Kenny Turcios and Ricardo Pineda. Silva’s decision to play himself paid off and Panama won 62 16 64 and moved to second place in Pool B.
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