DAVIS CUP - WORLD GROUP - 1ST PLAY-OFF ROUND - WEST CWLAND VS. EAST CWLAND - STEDINGHAM, FR CWLAND
Revenge for Drake and Korpinen as East take unassailable lead
Whilst it won't completely take away this sting of their Australian Open finals defeat, the pain for Jefferson Drake & Martti Korpinen
will no doubt be dulled as they led East CWLand into the World Group proper with a four-set win over Heath Davis & Jojo Mustard
. In front of a hostile Stedingham crowd, the Easterners knew they needed just one win from the final three rubbers to relegate the West to the Europe/Africa Zone for season II.
But with a 0-2 record against the world's second best team, Drake and Korpinen were intent on making this the winning rubber as they shot out to a break lead early in the first set. After dropping the match just six days ago in three sets, they obviously realised a quick start was necessary to peg back the Australian Open champions. With a break of both West players' service, the visitors took the first set 6-2 to stun the local crowd into silence.
That silence was compounded early in the second as they broke to lead 4-0. The Westerners broke back immediately, and after settling with a Davis hold to love managed to draw back in sight with a second break to be 4-4. But when serving to stay in the set, the normally reliable Heath Davis double faulted when down two set points to hand the Easts a two set lead on a platter.
Staring down the barrel of an unceremonious Saturday exit, the Westerners knew something drastic needed to happen. At 2-2 it did; they took four games on the trot and came into the fourth with a wet sail to give the visitors the jitters. But despite a vocal crowd, the Easterners recovered to take the fourth set to a tiebreaker; one they secured 7-3 to conclude a 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(3) win. An obviously ecstatic East CWLand squad tore onto the court when the unassailable 3-0 lead was secured in what is sure to mean a lot for the politically fragile country. Meanwhile, the West will now ponder what might have been in the Europe/Africa Zone; their next tie coming later this year against the winner of the Mar. 5 clash between South Africa and Denmark in Durban.
& Martti Korpinen
def. Heath Davis
& Jojo Mustard
, 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(3).