China holds off Uzbekistan in Davis Cup
Beijing: China’s young Davis Cup squad on Sunday held on for a nail-biting 3-2 upset victory over Uzbekistan, advancing to the next round of Asia/Oceania play against Kazakhstan.
Wu Di, just 18 years old and ranked a lowly 670th in the world, sealed the win for China with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Uzbekistan’s Farrukh Dustov in the final match of the tie in the southern city of Jiangmen.
Wu was making just his second appearance in Davis Cup play for China.
Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, by far the most experienced player on the courts for either squad with a world ranking of 76, lived up to his billing, winning both of his singles matches, against Wu and Zhang Ze.
Zhang had defeated Dustov on the first day of play, and China came through in the clutch doubles rubber on Saturday, with Gong Maoxin and Li Zhe defeating Istomin and Dustov in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
China will now face Kazakhstan in May, with the winner securing a place in the World Group play-offs in September.
China has never advanced to the elite World Group, missing by just one match on two occasions in 1987 and again in 1990.
The Asian nation has had amazing success in women’s tennis, with Li Na making history earlier this year by becoming the first Chinese player to break into the WTA’s top 10.
She and compatriot Zheng Jie both made the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January.
While China’s male players have yet to enjoy similar success, the Davis Cup squad could represent the future of men’s tennis in the country, with players aged just 18 to 23.
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