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06 March 2011

Europe/Africa - Day 3 report



  • Ray Stevens

Rui Machado (POR)

Portugal's Rui Machado was his team's hero on day three of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group I tie against Slovak Republic.

Machado clinched the fourth rubber against Lukas Lacko to ensure victory and a second round tie in Switzerland in July. The tie ended in a famous 4-1 win for the hosts.

The ties between Ukraine and Netherlands, and Slovenia and Finland were settled in the final rubber, with Netherlands and Slovenia prevailing.

Robin Haase proved the comeback king for the Dutch as he fought back from two sets down in the final rubber in Kharkiv against Ilya Marchenko. A marathon match lasting 4 hours 20 minutes ended with Haase holding his nerve to win 67(0) 16 76(5) 64 62.

It was the most closely contested tie of the weekend, punctuated by Sergiy Stakhovsky earlier pulling the hosts level in Sunday's first reverse singles, as he beat Jesse Huta Galong in five sets 61 64 36 67(4) 64 in 3 hours 44 minutes. The result means Netherlands will visit South Africa in the second round.

In Ljubljana, Jarkko Nieminen pulled Finland level to 2-2 by winning the fourth rubber against Blaz Kavcic 63 64 46 64, but Grega Zemlja put the hosts into the next round after coming from a set down to beat Finnish stand-in Micke Kontinen 26 63 63 63.

Kontinen came in for Harri Heliovaara, who played in the second singles on Friday and in Saturday's doubles but was suffering from a sore throat. Slovenia will play their second round tie on away soil against Italy.

The fourth tie settled already on Saturday between Israel and Poland ended in a 3-2 final score for Israel. Dudi Sela lost a dead rubber to Jerzy Janowicz and then the final rubber between Amir Weintraub and Marcin Gawron was not played due to an injury to the Israeli player.

Machado secures Portuguese victory

Machado, ranked No. 94 compared to Lacko's No. 119, broke serve eight times in the crucial rubber played on outdoor clay at Cruz Quebrada near Lisbon. The home favourite won 64 36 64 60 and celebrated in front of the rapturous crowd.

"The feeling of gaining the crucial point for Portugal is excellent. During the game I drew on my memories in our victory in Slovenia where we gained promotion to Group I. The conditions were similar and helped us to believe we could win," Machado said.

He added that home advantage had played a major part in the win. "I felt I was the favourite – after all, I was playing in my country, at my club and on my court.”

Joao Sousa completed the scoreline by winning the dead rubber against Martin Klizan 64 41 after the Slovak retired hurt.

Portugal captain Pedro Cordeiro said: "Everybody is very happy. We were fully victorious on the first day but we were unlucky in the doubles, although today we repeated the success we had on Friday."

He added the team owed much to the home supporters. "The crowd was excellent and it was the best Friday ever in terms of support."

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Related news

    • Europe/Africa - Day 1 report

      04 Mar 2011

      Israel and Portugal took a major step towards gaining a play-off place for next year's Paribas World Group by taking 2-0 leads on Friday

    • Europe/Africa - Day 2 report

      05 Mar 2011

      Israel moved into an unassailable 3-0 lead against Poland in Europe/Africa Zone Group I, while the remaining three ties wll be decided on Sunday

Related ties

SLO Flag Slovenia v Finland FIN Flag 4 Mar 2011 - 6 Mar 2011 View details

UKR Flag Ukraine v Netherlands NED Flag 4 Mar 2011 - 6 Mar 2011 View details

POR Flag Portugal v Slovakia SVK Flag 4 Mar 2011 - 6 Mar 2011 View details

ISR Flag Israel v Poland POL Flag 4 Mar 2011 - 6 Mar 2011 View details


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