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Baez Heroic Comeback Propels Argentina in Cup
- Updated: February 5, 2024
The Davis Cup qualifying round witnessed intense battles as Argentina secured a spot in the Finals group stage, overcoming Kazakhstan with a 3-2 victory. Sebastian Baez played a crucial role, staging a remarkable comeback against Dmitry Popko, clinching the decisive match with a score of 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6) on Sunday.
At just 23 years old, Baez holds a career-high ranking of No. 25 globally. His recent performance includes reaching the third round of the Australian Open, where he faced eventual champion Jannik Sinner. On the other hand, Popko, 27, ranked No. 338, has faced challenges in qualifying for Grand Slam tournaments, with 16 unsuccessful attempts.
The match between Baez and Popko reached a tense tiebreaker, with Popko holding two match points. However, Baez displayed resilience, securing the last four points to lead Argentina to victory.
Belgium also secured its spot in the next round with a 3-1 win against Croatia. Zizou Bergs played a pivotal role, sealing the victory by defeating Duje Ajdukovic 6-1, 7-5 on Sunday. Bergs had also won the opening singles match against Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, on Saturday.
In Santiago, Chile faced a tough challenge against Peru, ultimately winning 3-2. Alejandro Tabilo’s comeback against Ignacio Buse in the deciding match, with a score of 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, secured Chile’s advancement.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic dominated Israel with a 4-0 victory, and France replicated the same scoreline against Taiwan.
The qualifying series, which concluded on Friday or Saturday, saw seven nations advancing: the United States, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, and Slovakia. These teams will join reigning champion Italy, 2023 runner-up Australia, and wild-card entries Britain and Spain in the 16-team, four-city Finals group stage scheduled for September. Subsequently, eight teams will progress to the quarterfinals in Malaga, Spain, in November, where the ultimate Davis Cup champion will be determined.
In the World Group I playoffs, India showcased dominance by winning 4-0 against Pakistan. Additionally, two-time Grand Slam runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas played a key role in helping Greece secure a 4-0 victory over Romania.
The Davis Cup continues to be a stage for thrilling battles and unexpected twists as nations vie for glory and a chance to etch their names in tennis history. The road to the Finals promises more intense matchups, setting the stage for an exciting culmination in Spain later this year.
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By- Sahiba Suri