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Zimbabwe brace for El Salvador in Davis Cup

by Staff reporter
02 Mar 2022 at 05:34hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Davis Cup tennis team player Benjamin Lock has said they have to take it one match at a time when they take on El Salvador in the World Group II play-offs at Harare Sports Club this weekend.

Zimbabwe host El Salvador on Friday and Saturday.

The team is made up of Benjamin, his young brother Courtney, and the Sibanda brothers — Mehluli and Ethan. Gwinyai Tongoona is the (non-playing) captain.

On paper, Zimbabwe are the favourites over their Central American opponents.

The hosts are ranked 63, four places above El Salvador. Lock, who is Zimbabwe's top player, is ranked 510 in the world while El Salvador's top player, Marcelo Arevalo, is ranked 664

Arevalo is the only ranked player for the visitors.

The other team members for El Salvador are Lluis Miralles, Kyle Johnson and Yari Bernardo, who is the captain.

Speaking after a training session with his brother Courtney under the guidance of Tongoona and coach Freeman Nyamunokora, who also works with the two players, Benjamin Lock said he is expecting their opponents to give them a good run for their money.

"Our opponents have a very good number one player and I think he is going to bring a very good level to the match and he has won many Davis Cup matches before, so he is a very experienced player.

"He has done well recently on the tour, so I think it's going to be a very even match on the weekend and I think it's going to be a day-by-day thing . . .  I think it's crucial for us to win the first singles matches that we play on Friday and then going into the Saturday, I think the most important point, actually the whole weekend, is the doubles.

"Historically for Zimbabwe, the doubles have been our strength and it has determined a lot of the wins that we have had at home in the Davis Cup competition. So for us, we have been focusing on the doubles and I think that will be key. If we can win the doubles, we will be very confident that we can come out victorious from the tie," said Benjamin Lock.

Zimbabwe are missing Takanyi Garanganga for the play-offs. He was also not part of the team that went to Tunisia last November when Zimbabwe lost 4-0 in the World Group II Knock-out tie.

While Benjamin Lock underscored the importance of the first singles match on Friday and the doubles on Saturday, he said the absence of Garanganga is a setback for the team.

"That being said, we are not at our full squad. We are obviously missing Takanyi and he is a huge asset to the team and a very experienced and good player. So it's a big setback for us to not have him in the team to be honest," said Benjamin Lock.

However, he rallied the young players in the team to do well and challenged them to give their best.

Building up to this tie, the Lock brothers have been on tour in Tunisia and Europe.

"It's been a good start of the year so far for me personally and for my brother as well. We have been playing a lot of hard court tournaments. I have played a lot of tournaments in Europe, which were very high level, lots of good players. So I think I am coming into the tie with good form," said Benjamin Lock. The Sibanda brothers — Mehluli and Ethan — arrived in Harare yesterday afternoon to join their teammates. The team is scheduled to continue with their training sessions this morning.

The draw for the tie is on tomorrow.

Source - The Herald