Davis Cup: Lebanon easily defeats Jamaica

Davis Cup: Lebanon easily defeats Jamaica

Benjamin Hassan (left) and Hadi Habib during the doubles count of the Davis Cup match between Lebanon and Jamaica against Blaise Bicknell and Rowland Phillips on Saturday at the ATCL courts in Jounieh. Photo by ANI

Just like last year, Lebanon did not miss out on the Davis Cup, with the team led by captain Fadi Youssef last weekend on the ATCL courts in Jounieh against Jamaica, largely dominating the field.

Still members of the second world group, after losing the promotion match against Ukraine last January, the Lebanese offered themselves a new chance to change categories with this clean and unmistakable victory (4-0) against the 65th ranked country in the world (Lebanon ranks 48th in the ranking).

First success for Mustafa Natura

Things got off to a perfect start in the first two singles on Friday, with Benjamin Hassan (208th in the world) initially dominating Rowland Phillips (1790th) without a flinch 7-5, 6-3 before Hadi Habib did the same (387th). moments later against Blaise Bicknell (ranked 430th), winning in straight sets, also 7-6, 6-1.

Building on this perfect start, the next day the two pillars of Lebanese selection were combined for a double against the same two opponents. Although the debate was closer than the day before, the Lebanese once again demonstrated their dominance, winning in three sets 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Hadi Habib hits a backhand during a Davis Cup match against Blaise Bicknell at the ATCL tournament in Jounieh. Photo by ANI

Enough to ensure a well-deserved success, culminating in the final victory of young Mustafa Natura (18 years old), who received a baptism of fire at the national selection. He was opposed by another young thumb, Daniel Hazard, also fresh from his majority, in a match that had no bearing on the final outcome of the meeting and ended with a clear score of 6-3, 6-1 in favor of the young Lebanese.

Thanks to this new home success, similar to the one achieved last year against Monaco (3-2), Cedre’s team is entitled to once again try their luck in qualifying for the first world group. To do this, she will have to beat one of the twelve teams that lost the match in the same group, the identity of which will soon be determined by drawing lots.

France is one step away from qualification

At a higher level, in the final stages of the Davis Cup, France on Sunday were drowning in regret after a brutal exit against Great Britain. At their home stadium in Manchester, buoyed by a sea of ​​fans, the British side reached the quarter-finals at the end of a tense wait after three bitter and indecisive matches.

Sebastien Grosjean’s side came close to reaching the quarter-finals, which would be unprecedented for them since 2018, before missing out on the flag in the deciding doubles despite a great start and four wasted match points in the third arm.

Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Nicolas Mahut finished the first round with authority, showing off bright blue skies in a bustling AO Arena nearly filled to capacity with more than 13,000 spectators, a British record for the event.

Neil Skupski and Dan Evans celebrate winning their doubles decider against Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Sunday in Manchester during the Davis Cup match between Great Britain and France. Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

But the racket strokes of the red-hot Dan Evans, always quick to harangue the crowd, and doubles specialist Neal Skupski, this summer’s Wimbledon winner, ended in triumph after two stifling deciders (1-6, 7-6, 7-6). ) and two hours and forty-eight minutes of fierce battle.

The French may emerge stunned from a Sunday of twists and turns, intertwined with regrets and bursts of hope. It all started with a disappointing first single, lost by 19-year-old newcomer Arthur Fils (ranked 44 in the world) to Daniel Evans (ranked 27 in the world) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. long ahead, serenely and diligently, before unscrewing the second sleeve from the middle.

Throwing in place of Adrian Mannarino, weakened by discomfort in his adductor muscles, initially looked like a winning bet: the young French challenger seemed to be in control of the game, his emotions and his opponent, despite being better ranked, more experienced at 33, and capped by the newly acquired title in Washington, also on hard court.

But in the middle of the second set the situation changed. “He put energy into it, and with the crowd and the new balls, everything was moving too quickly,” commented Fancilian, a newcomer to the top 50 of the ATP rankings.

In this context, Hugo Humbert (36th in the world) worked wonders against Cameron Norrie (17th in the world), whom he coolly subdued in three sets 7-6, 3-6, 7-5, winning at the end of the wait after two hours forty-six minutes.

“It’s huge, so many emotions, I went through all the conditions during the match, it’s complete madness,” savored the 25-year-old left-hander into the BeIN Sports microphone. He overcame “a lot of weakness” in the second round and the “crazy noise” coming from the stands, “it was a huge thrill.”

The oldest, Roger-Vasselin (39 years old) and Mahut (41 years old), who were so close to qualifying, unfortunately, were unable to extend the holiday. The rest of the Davis Cup will be written without them, but with Great Britain, defending champion Canada, outgoing finalist Australia and even Serbia’s world number one Novak Djokovic.

Source: L Orient Le Jour

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