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31 January 2013

Europe/Africa Zone Group II: Thursday


Photo: Tommy HindleyGrigor Dimitrov (BUL)

Bulgaria v Finland

- Venue: Tennis Hall "Sofia''
- Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
- Surface: Indoor Hard

Grigor Dimitrov's presence in the Bulgarian team will be a huge boost for the home side as they look to build after their promotion last year. Sofia's mayor Jordanka Fandakova conducted the draw giving Dimitrov the opening rubber against Juho Paukku with the Bulgarian looking the much stronger on paper.

Micke Kontinen is chosen ahead of Harri Heliovaara as Finland's other singles player and will face Alexander Lazov in Friday's other rubber before Tihomir Grozdanov and Dimitar Kuzmanov are Bulgaria's nomination to face Heliovaara and Henri Kontinen in the crucial doubles rubber.

The draw was conducted in the presence of Hans Broucke, director of BNP Paribas in Bulgaria who commented after, “I wish to thank the Bulgarian Tennis Federation for the perfect organization of the tournament, we know how hard it is host a event like this. BNP Paribas has supported tennis for 40 years and we are very proud of this long and beneficial collaboration."

R1: Grigor Dmitrov (BUL) v Juho Paukku (FIN)
R2: Alexander Lazov (BUL) v Micke Kontinen (FIN)

R3: Tihomir Grozdanov/Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) v Harri Heliovaara/Henri Kontinen (FIN)

R4: Grigor Dmitrov (BUL) v Micke Kontinen (FIN)
R5: Alexander Lazov (BUL) v Juho Paukku (FIN)

Ireland v Estonia

- Venue: David Lloyd Riverview
- Location: Dublin, Ireland
- Surface: Indoor Hard

Ireland won an incredibly close battle against Egypt last April to maintain their place in Europe/Africa Zone Group II and have been rewarded with a tie against an Estonian side that features three Davis Cup newcomers in Jaan Kononov, Marek Merksoo and Markus Kerner.

James McGee initiates proceedings on Friday against Kononov hoping to give the hosts a fast start before Sam Barry faces a stern test in Vladimir Ivanov. James Cluskey, looking for his first victory in Davis Cup having lost all of his previous six, has been prospectively paired with Colin O'Brien to compete aginst Ivanov and Merksoo prior to the all-important reverse singles rubbers.

R1: James McGee (IRL) v Jaan Kononov (EST)
R2: Sam Barry (IRL) v Vladimir Ivanov (EST)

R3: James Cluskey/Colin O'Brien (IRL) v Vladimir Ivanov/Marek Merksoo (EST)

R4: James McGee (IRL) v Vladimir Ivanov (EST)
R5: Sam Barry (IRL) v Jaan Kononov (EST)

Tunisia v Latvia

- Venue: Cité Nationale Sportive
- Location: El Menzah, Tunisia
- Surface: Outdoor Hard

Davis Cup Commitment Award player Andis Juska is set to feature in his 30th tie for Latvia this weekend and will open proceedings against Mohamed Haythem Abid looking to add to his reputation in the competition.

Ernests Gulbis will also return to action with the 24-year-old taking on an opponent four years his junior in the form of Slim Hanza. The four singles players are all scheduled to return to court the following day for doubles action and for Sunday's reverse doubles climax.

R1: Mohamed Haythem Abid (TUN) v Andis Juska (LAT)
R2: Slim Hanza (TUN) v Ernests Gulbis (LAT)

R3: Mohamed Haythem Abid/Slim Hanza (TUN) v Andis Juska/Ernests Gulbis (LAT)

R4: Mohamed Haythem Abid (TUN) v Ernests Gulbis (LAT)
R5: Slim Hanza (TUN) v Andis Juska (LAT)

Monaco v Belarus

- Venue: Monte Carlo Country Club
- Location: Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Monaco
- Surface: Outdoor Clay

Belarus will travel to the Monte Carlo Country Club as the favourites to progress to the second round with the likes of Dzmitry Zhyrmont and Uladzimir Ignatik avaliable for the singles rubbers.

The task of keeping the hosts hopes alive on the first day have fallen to Benjamin Balleret and Jean-Rene Lisnard who face Zhyrmont and Ignatik respectively. Guillaume Couillard and Thomas Oger will then come in for Saturday's doubles where doubles specialist Max Mirnyi will be waiting with partner Andrei Vasilevski.

R1: Benjamin Balleret (MON) v Dzmitry Zhyrmont (BLR)
R2: Jean-Rene Lisnard (MON) v Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR)

R3: Guillaume Couillard/Thomas Oger (MON) v Max Mirnyi/Andrei Vasilevski (BLR)

R4: Benjamin Balleret (MON) v Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR)
R5: Jean-Rene Lisnard (MON) v Dzmitry Zhyrmont (BLR)

Moldova v Hungary

- Venue: Manejul de Atletica Usoara
- Location: Chisinau, Moldova
- Surface: Indoor Hard

Moldova are looking to reach the second round of Europe/Africa Zone Group II for the first time in the nations history and face a tough but not impossible test against Hungary this weekend having lost their only previous meeting.

Hungary have named a youthful side for the tie with Marton Fucsovics, who turns 21 next week and is one of the more senior players, nominated to take on Maxim Dubarenco to kick-off the tie on Friday. Radu Albot, undoubtedly Moldova's greatest hope, will face debutant Viktor Filipenko in the second match. Albot will then pair with Dubarenko and face yet another debutant in Levente Godry who will likely be led by Fucsovics in the doubles.

R1: Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) v Marton Fucsovics (HUN)
R2: Radu Albot (MDA) v Viktor Filipenko (HUN)

R3: Radu Albot/Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) v Marton Fucsovics/Levente Godry (HUN)

R4: Radu Albot (MDA)  v Marton Fucsovics (HUN)
R5: Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) v Viktor Filipenko (HUN)

Bosnia-Herzegovina v Luxembourg

- Venue: Mojmilo Sports Hall
- Location: Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
- Surface: Indoor Hard

Bosnia-Herzegovina are without the services of Amer Delic who has been the stand-out performer for his nation in recent years but will still hope that their team has enough strength to see off a Luxembourg team who do not feature a single player inside the Top 1000 due to the absence of stalwart Gilles Muller.

Those absences have left Damir Dzumhur and Mike Scheidweiler to open proceedings on Friday, to be followed by Aldin Setkic against Ugo Nastasi, who is making his Davis Cup debut this weekend. A more familiar face will feature for Luxembourg on Saturday as two Laurent Bram teams with Commitment Award recipient Scheidweiler.

R1: Damir Dzumhur (BIH) v Mike Scheidweiler (LUX)
R2: Aldin Setkic (BIH) v Ugo Nastasi (LUX)

R3: Tomislav Brkic/Damir Dzumhur (BIH) v Lauernt Bram/Mike Scheidweiler (LUX)

R4: Damir Dzumhur (BIH) v Ugo Nastasi (LUX)
R5: Aldin Setkic (BIH) v Mike Scheidweiler (LUX)

Lithuania v Cyprus

- Venue: Siauliu Arena
- Location: Siauliai, Lithuania
- Surface: Indoor Hard

Lithuania are led by Ricardas Berankis who was also the driving force behind their promotion out of Europe/Africa Zone Group III last season. He will be backed up by Dovydas Sakinis, who will feature in the opening rubber before pairing with Berankis on Saturday.

Cyprus have a hugely inexperienced team for this tie with just two of the players having played in the competition before and neither able to boast of a singles victory. Rares Cuzdriorean possesses the greatest history in the competition having played in six ties and has been chosen as Sakinis' opponent for the first match of the tie before Petros Chrysochos, aged just 16-year-old, will face the mighty task of upsetting Berankis.

R1: Dovydas Sakinis (LTU) v Rares Cuzdriorean (CYP)
R2: Ricardas Berankis (LTU) v Petros Chrysochos (CYP)

R3: Ricardas Berankis/Dovydas Sakinis (LTU) v Petros Chrysochos/Rares Cuzdriorean(CYP)

R4: Ricardas Berankis (LTU) v Rares Cuzdriorean (CYP)
R5: Dovydas Sakinis (LTU) v Petros Chrysochos (CYP)

Portugal v Benin

- Venue: Club Internacional de Football
- Location: Lisbon, Portugal
- Surface: Indoor Clay

Benin are making their first appearance at Europe/Africa Zone Group II level having won promotion last year. All the players from that succesful side have returned for this tie with Loic Didavi and Alecis Kelgou taking the lead in both singles and doubles.

They will never have faced anyone of the quality of this Portuguese side, however, and it will be an acheivement if they can keep pace with a team led by Joao Sousa who will be considered a strong favourite against Didavi in the Friday opener. Pedro Sousa will then face Alexis Klegou with all four players touted to return for the doubles on Saturday.

R1: Joao Sousa (POR) v Loic Didavi (BEN)
R2: Pedro Sousa (POR) v Alexis Klegou (BEN)

R3: Joao Sousa/Pedro Sousa (POR) v Loic Didavi/Alexis Klegou (BEN)

R4: Joao Sousa (POR) v Alexis Klegou (BEN)
R5: Pedro Sousa (POR) v Loic Didavi (BEN)

Related content

Related ties

BUL Flag Bulgaria v Finland FIN Flag 1 Feb 2013 - 3 Feb 2013 View details

IRL Flag Ireland v Estonia EST Flag 1 Feb 2013 - 3 Feb 2013 View details

TUN Flag Tunisia v Latvia LAT Flag 1 Feb 2013 - 3 Feb 2013 View details

MON Flag Monaco v Belarus BLR Flag 1 Feb 2013 - 3 Feb 2013 View details

MDA Flag Moldova v Hungary HUN Flag 1 Feb 2013 - 3 Feb 2013 View details

BIH Flag Bosnia/Herzegovina v Luxembourg LUX Flag 1 Feb 2013 - 3 Feb 2013 View details

LTU Flag Lithuania v Cyprus CYP Flag 1 Feb 2013 - 3 Feb 2013 View details

POR Flag Portugal v Benin BEN Flag 1 Feb 2013 - 3 Feb 2013 View details

  • More photos

    • Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)Team Bulagria
    • Grigor Dmitrov (BUL) and Juho Paukku (FIN)Team Lithuania and Team Cyrpus
    • Ricardas Berankis (LTU) and Petros Chrysochos (CYP)Team Moldova and Team Hungary
    • Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) and Marton Fucsovics (HUN)



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