Zimbabwe seal Davis Cup win

HARARE - Even the rains could not stop Zimbabwe from posting a thrilling 3-1 win over Turkey in a Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group II first round tie yesterday.

The hosts went into yesterday doubles match with a 2-0 lead following victories by Benjamin Lock and Takanyi Garanganga over Altug Celikbilek and Cem Ilkel respectively.

Lock won his match against the visitor’s second seed 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 while Garanganga did in straight sets 6-4, 7-5.

A win in the doubles match would have guaranteed Zimbabwe victory in the tie.

Lock and Garanganga were made to work to clinch the first set 7-5 against the Turkish pair of Tuna Altuna and Ilkel.

With the scores level at 2-2 in the second set, the Harare skies opened up forcing play to be stopped for over two hours.

When play finally resumed, the two teams continued with their slugfest.

Zimbabwe finally got the breakthrough when they broke Altuna’s serve in the eighth game in the second set.

From there on, the home side had the momentum and the match was decided in extraordinary circumstances.

Lock’s serve on match point which was going to be called for a fault stuck Altuna’s standing left foot and the ball went out of play.

Both sets of players looked up to the chair umpire, who briefly hesitated to make a call before giving the point to Zimbabwe.

Turkey protested the decision but it did not change the decision and Zimbabwe took the set 6-3 and with that the tie.

In a feat of rage, Ilkel slammed his racket a few times on the court before throwing it away when the decision was made. Mehluli Sibanda then took on Sarp Agabigan in the fourth match which he lost 5-7, 4-6.

Lock was pleased with Zimbabwe’s performance throughout the tie.

“We are obviously so thrilled; it’s been an unbelievable weekend for us as a team. To beat a side that is well-established like Turkey, we are really happy,” he said.

“The last point was an extremely weird way to finish the tie. I’m not going to lie it’s bittersweet to finish like that. But if you take that point away, we had put ourselves in good positions to win and if you keep on doing that over time then some luck can go your way.

“The whole weekend we performed well; Takanyi was unbelievable and I was so impressed watching him play.”

Garanganga was glad Zimbabwe had got the victory in front of a very passionate home crowd.

“Sour at the end; the Turkish are not happy with that but overall we won and that’s a good thing,” he said.

“At least there is now less stress from everybody. I enjoyed my doubles match yesterday (Saturday). This is my first event for 2018 so it’s a good way to start the year. There is some good momentum and we will take it from there on.”

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