AFTER the disappointing 1-4 home loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Zimbabwe Davis Cup squad has been handed a golden opportunity to stay in the Euro-Africa Group II after being handed a home tie against Moldovia in the crucial relegation play-off set for July.
Zimbabwe will need to beat Moldovia in the relegation playoff tie set for the capital during the weekend of July 17 to 19 to remain in Euro-Africa Group 2 for 2016.
The loser of the crucial tie will drop to Euro-Africa Group III and Zimbabwe will be desperate not to go down again having waited eight years to secure promotion last year.
On paper Moldovia, who lost to Hungary 1-4 in Gyor, at the weekend and Zimbabwe look evenly matched, setting up what should be a tightly contested encounter.
The Eastern European nation which is also called Moldova has just one player ranked inside the top 200 of the official ATP rankings in Marton Fucsovics, ranked 196th.
However, after this weekend’s dismal performance at home, Zimbabwe will have to improve their game if they are to avoid the dreaded chop.
Tennis Zimbabwe convener of selectors Tanya Chinamo said while Zimbabwe were always second favourites against Bosnia and Herzegovina, they would have a good chance of beating Moldova.
“To be honest, we were always underdogs against Bosnia and Herzegovina, they had a very strong side,” Chinamo said in his assessment of the team’s performance.
“We also had the added pressure in that most of our players were playing at home for the first time, but in the end they did reasonably well. Hopefully they have gained some experience from this tie ahead of the play-off tie against Moldova at home which I feel we will have a strong chance of winning,” Chinamo said.
The Martin Dzuwa-captained side which was playing at home for the first time in almost a decade were always second favourites against the higher ranked Bosnians who were ranked 36 places higher than Zimbabwe on team rankings.
Bosnia and Herzegovina also had three players in Damir Dzumhur (89), Mirza Basic (199) and Tomislav Brkic (239) who were all ranked above Zimbabwe’s number one player Takanyi Garanganga 324.
The country’s second highest ranked player Benjamin Lock is ranked a lowly 1 205 with Mark Fynn ranked number 1 215 while Wayne Black was making a return to Davis Cup tennis more than two decades since his debut and almost 10 years since his last appearance.
The visiting team’s superiority on paper was proved right as they powered to victory inside the first two days with two matches to spare before sealing a 4-1 win on the final day.