Portugal eased to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Lithuania to continue its campaign for immediate promotion back into Europe/Africa Zone Group I.
Pedro Coreiro ‘s men were relegated from Europe Africa/Zone Group I last year after falling 1-3 to Slovak Republic in Bratislava, but the hosts continued their surge for an immediate return to the second tier of the competition by booking their place in September’s Group II third round.
Gastao Elias and Rui Machado clinched the decisive point ahead of the final day in Lisbon, confidently overcoming Lukas Mugevicius and Mantas Bugailiskis 63 60 62. The result meant Portugal achieved a bagel in each of its three rubbers, with Elias and Pedro Sousa also winning Friday’s singles rubbers in straight sets.
Finland also secured victory on Saturday as Henri Kontinen and Jarkko Nieminen strolled to a 62 61 64 victory against Ireland's Sam Barry and Colin O'Brien to complete a 3-0 victory after Nieminen and Herri Heliovaara had put the visitors on the brink after the opening day.
Monaco hasn’t featured in Group I since 1981, but the home side took a strong stride towards bidding for a place in the next tier in September’s third round after taking a surprise 2-1 lead over Latvia at the Monte Carlo Country Club in Roquebreune-Cap-Martin. Benjamin Balleret and Guillaume Couillard combined to defeat Ernests Gulbis and Andis Juska.
Gulbis, the world No. 55, will bid to level up the scores against Balleret in Sunday’s opening reverse singles rubber.
Bosnia/Herzegovina completed victory in the singles rubber that was suspended yesterday evening to level their tie against Moldova but where not able to keep the momentum going as Radu Albot and Andrei Ciumac came through in straight sets to give the underdogs a shot at a first ever appreance in the Europe/Africa Zone Group II third round.
In the relegation play-offs, Bulgaria where the only team in a position to secure safety on Saturday and despite a rocky start Timohar Grozdanov and Alexander Lazov came through 46 67(4) 76(2) 64 63 against Estonia's Vladimir Ivanov and Mikk Irdoja to earn the win.
Belarus, Luxembourg and Cyprus all took 2-1 leads against Tunisia, Hungary and Benin respectively to move within one point of assuring their Group II status for another year.
For the latest results from Europe/Africa Group II, click the relevant link below
Ireland 0-3 Finland
Monaco 2-1 Latvia
Bosnia/Herzegovina 1-2 Moldova
Portugal 3-0 Lithuania
Bulgaria 3-0 Estonia
Tunisia 1-2 Belarus
Hungary 1-2 Luxembourg
Cyprus 2-1 Benin