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14 September 2013

Asia/Oceania Zone Group III: Saturday


NEWS ARTICLE

Photo: Paul ZimmerThe Davis Cup trophy

Hong Kong China took a step closer to promotion, while Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia will be in a three-way fight to take the second spot in Group III in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone being held at the Dubai Aviation Club.

Hong Kong China made easy work of Cambodia with a 2-1 win, while the second qualifying spot remained wide open after Malaysia fought till the very end to stun Vietnam for a 2-1 win in the second promotion pool encounter that went on till 1am.

First participating in Davis Cup in 1970, Hong Kong’s best finish came in 1989 and later between 1993 and 1995 when they competed in the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I. Last year, they went down to Sri Lanka in a lengthy relegation play-off.

“We belong to Group II for sure. But we will have to wait till Sunday to see if we will get through,” Hong Kong China’s Indian coach Karan Rastogi admitted.

“Realistically, this is where we ought to be,” he added.

The second promotion pool encounter between Vietnam and Malaysia had all the ingredients of a thriller as there was a sudden power cut on Court No. 6 that led to the match being moved to centre court with Vietnam leading 3-1 in the deciding third set.

Vietnam protested after the match, but the reality is that the fight for the second spot in the promotion pool still remains wide open between Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia on the final day of competition on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Iran and the UAE won their respective ties to retain their place in Group III for next year. Iran got the better of Pacific Oceania 2-1, while the hosts managed a 3-0 win over Oman to keep their places in the group for yet another year.

“I am proud of what the boys have done by remaining in Group III for another year. We were up against all odds this time, but our boys gave it their best and we’ve managed to keep our place,” noted UAE’s Spanish coach Jorge Martin Munoz.

UAE captain Mahmoud Khalifa Al Baloushi was equally pleased with the result. “Perhaps we felt a bit of pressure playing at home. But we’ve done well to keep our place in Group III and that is a relief,” he said.

In Sunday’s final day, the UAE will be up against Iran to decide fifth place, while Oman and Pacific Oceania will have to come to terms with the reality of slipping down into Group IV for 2014.

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