BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE’S Davis Cup team will host China in the World Group II tie in September, after the two nations were pitted in a draw conducted at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) headquarters in London, United Kingdom, on Friday.
The tie will be played on either Friday, 18 – Saturday, 19 September or Saturday, 19 – Sunday, 20 September in Harare.
The ITF announced earlier this week that the Fed Cup Finals and play-offs, due to take place next month, had been postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, with all ITF circuit events also postponed until at least April 20.
Preparations for September’s World Group I and World Group II ties will continue as normal and the ITF will continue to monitor the situation.
Team Zimbabwe will head into the match against China with their confidence high following their convincing 3-1 win over Syria at Harare Sports Club last weekend.
China were relegated from World Group 1 after withdrawing from a Davis Cup tie against Romania due to the coronavirus pandemic early this month.
The Chinese team was due to travel to Romania for a March 6-7 playoff, but did not make the trip due to “increased restrictions” in response to the outbreak, the ITF said in a statement on Twitter.
It will be the first time the two nations clash in a Davis Cup tie, but the Chinese team will go into the tie as favourites as they are placed 39th on the latest global rankings compared to Zimbabwe who are 62nd.
China, just like Zimbabwe, however, doesn’t have any players in the top 100 ATP World rankings which should set up a potentially thrilling tie at Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe managed to secure victory against Syria last weekend without injured second seed Takanyi Garanganga due to a knee injury, but the Mbare-born star is expected to have recovered by the time the country hosts China.
Garanganga’s return would give non-playing captain Gwinyai Tongoona more options in his team which already includes the brothers quartet of Lock brothers Benjamin and Courtney and the Sibanda siblings Mehluli and Ethan.