India to play South Africa in Davis Cup World Group play-off

May 12th, 2009 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Davis Cup New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) India have been drawn to play South Africa in an away tie in the Davis Group World group play-off beginning Sep 18.
India were given a walkover in their third round Asia-Oceania Group I tie against Australia after the 28-times champion boycotted the Chennai tie citing security concerns.

South Africa are in great form this season and have got a double promotion to break into Group I.

South Africa registered their tenth consecutive win with a 5-0 whitewash of Belarus in third round of the Euro-Africa Group I tie Monday to make it to their first World Group play-off in a decade.

It was South Africa’s third successive 5-0 victory in the competition. It had earlier beaten Denmark and Macedonia 5-0 in the first two rounds at home.

India will clash with South Africa for the third time in Davis Cup, with the latter winning all their previous ties.

The two countries last met in 1994, where South Africa defeated India 3-2 on the grass court of Jaipur.

Earlier, India had forfeited their tie against South Africa in the 1974 final to protest then South African government’s apartheid policies.

The South African team, ranked 27, have Kevin Anderson (ranked 149) as their top singles player. Doubles specialist Wesley Moodie has vast international experience.

The other members of the team include singles players Izak van der Merwe (275) and Raven Klaasen (289). Jeff Coetzee (22) and Jager Rik de Voest (43) are the doubles player. John-Laffnie de in the non-playing captain of the team.

India, ranked 17, is likely to retain the team they had announced for the tie against Australia comprising Somdev Devvarman (140), Rohan Bopanna (228) with Leander Paes (5) and Mahesh Bhupathi (9) forming the doubles pair.

Both teams last competed in the World Group in 1998. India reached the World Group play-off last year, but went down to Romania.

India’s No.1 Somdev called the draw favourable for India.

“It is a good draw for us. But at the same time South Africa is a tough team with quality players. We will have to play for our best. It is a good chance for us to qualify for the finals,” Somdev said.

The World Group play-off will have the eight winning nations advancing to the 2010 World Group, and the eight losing nations starting next year in Group I of the zonal competition.

The draw was announced by International Tennis Federation in London Tuesday.

World Group Play-offs: India vs South Africa, Chile vs Australia, Belgium vs Ukraine, Brazil vs Ecuador, Netherlands vs France, Serbia vs Uzbekistan, Sweden vs Romania, Italy vs Switzerland.

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