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14 July 2005

Ancic to open Croatia's challenge



  • Neven Berticevic
The draw ceremony for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Quarterfinal tie between Croatia and Romania took place at the Villa Dalmatia, in a beautiful Split sea surrounding. The name of Romania No. 1, Andrei Pavel came out first from the bowl, so the story was set. Mario Ancic and Andrej Pavel will open the tie on Friday with Ivan Ljubicic and Victor Hanescu to follow.

For Saturday doubles, team captains Niki Pilic and Adrian Marcu nominated Ancic, Ljubicic, Pavel and Gabriel Trifu. The tie will conclude on Sunday with Ljubicic and Pavel first, followed by Ancic and Hanescu.

The full draw is as follows:

Mario Ancic (CRO) v Andrei Pavel (ROM)
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v Victor Hanescu (ROM)
Mario Ancic/Ivan Ljubicic (CRO v Andrei Pavel/Gabriel Trifu (ROM)
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v Andrei Pavel (ROM)
Mario Ancic (CRO) v Victor Hanescu (ROM)

Mario Ancic will play his first Davis Cup tie in home town of Split. Croatia played Australia in Split nine years ago, and 12 year-old Mario, a promising youngster, was a ball boy. Three years latter, as a 15 year-old he played his first Davis cup dead rubber tie in Zagreb against Portugal's Joao Cunha Silva.

Ancic, who has never played Pavel, is looking forward to the contest, "Team spirit is great, we are ready to go. Even before we beat USA in Carson I said we have a good chance to make a big Davis cup result. This is our chance, big chance to make it to the semis for the first time, but it will be a difficult task.

"Romania has a great team, when you make it to the last eight, you must be dangerous. Pavel, I feel is the best and most difficult opponent, but I'm confident playing in front of, I hope, full house. The court is fast, but not to fast, just as we wanted. I hope to give my team a winning start."

Romania's Pavel is also confident, "Mario has a very good serve, looks for the net most of the time, and is dangerous on faster surfaces. Before coming to Split we practiced on faster courts than this one. Actually, this one is similar the one in Bercy where I have played the final two years ago. We are looking for a close tie, and a
win, for us 1-1 after the first day would be a good result."

Ivan Ljubicic led Croatia in the last two victories against USA, winning both singles and contributing in both doubles. He played four times, winning all four against Victor Hanescu.

"Our focus is on Pavel, so if Mario wins the first match it will be much easier to come on court, and for the whole tie. I'm ready, last two days playing much better, and hope to go one step further."

Romanian No. 2 Hanescu was very calm at the draw, as he is on the court and says he sees Croatia as favourites, but, "Davis cup is full of surprises. Croatia is favourite, but USA was a big favourite against Croatia but still Lost. For me it will be much easier if Pavel wins the first match."

Croatia captain Niki Pilic could not remember how many quarterfinal ties he led Germany and Croatia, "But I know that this one is very important for. Playing in Croatia for the first time, and my home town. The story of the match? For me simple. If my boys play well, Croatia will win."

Adrian Marcu, Romania captain said, "My team is ready. We like the surface, looking forward to a close, very close tie with Croatia just a light favourite, but that does not mean much in these situations."

Teams are ready and optimistic. Croatia is looking for it's first semifinal appearance, Romania has not been there since 1973.

Related Links

> Tie Information
> Dodatne informacije na hrvatskom – HTS

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