Europe/Africa Group I 1st round: Slovak Republic at Great Britain (Feb. 10-12, 2012) - MensTennisForums.com

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Old 02-06-2012, 09:54 PM   #1
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Default Europe/Africa Group I 1st round: Slovak Republic at Great Britain (Feb. 10-12, 2012)

Team Nominations :

Great Britain
James Ward (ATP 158 Singles) - Daniel Evans (ATP 276 Singles) - Colin Fleming (ATP 28 Doubles) - Ross Hutchins (ATP 37 Doubles)

Slovakia
Lukas Lacko (ATP 65 Singles) - Martin Klizan (ATP 120 Singles) - Filip Polasek (ATP 21 Doubles) - Michal Mertinak (ATP 61 Doubles)


Great Britain without Andy Murray, Slovaks with redhot Lukas Lacko - maybe key factor.

I expect Lacko to win his rubber against Evans and Klizan to have a very close match against Ward on Friday.

Tough Saturday doubles match, both teams has a very decent doubles players, could go both ways really.

On Sunday I expect Lacko to beat Ward and (if necessary) Klizan to beat Evans too.


Your predictions ?
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Will be tough for us to win without Murray. We've just got to hope that Ward shows up because I think a lot will depend on what level he plays at.

Lacko's the big threat and should really win both his matches on paper. If he does that then it will be a struggle for us to get the three wins we'd need.
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Tough tie for GB, will be interesting to see how they get on. The right team to try though, and wish them the best.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

R1: Dan Evans (GBR) vs. Lukas Lacko (SVK)
R2: James Ward (GBR) vs. Martin Klizan (SVK)
R3: Colin Fleming & Ross Hutchins (GBR) vs. Michal Mertinak & Filip Polasek (SVK)
R4: James Ward (GBR) vs. Lukas Lacko (SVK)
R5: Dan Evans (GBR) vs. Martin Klizan (SVK)

3:00pm start tomorrow. Good luck chaps!
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

IMO the fifth rubber will decide the winner here.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Even with Murray, we wouldn't have been guaranteed a win. It might have come down to Ward vs. Klizan, as the doubles isn't as much in our favour as people might think. A few tense moments from Fleming and Hutchins, and we'll be in big trouble.

Without Murray, obviously the tie is so much more difficult, but I side with the pundits in thinking that we can still win. Two matches are winnable - Ward's against Klizan, and the doubles. So it is up to us to take our chances in those, and at least try to lead 2-1 going into Sunday, and see if we could pull something special out of the bag for a third winning rubber.

Apparently Evans has been hitting the ball well in training, so hopefully Smith and the rest of the team can empower him. His serve is a weakness, but he is a talented guy, so it would be nice if he could do himself justice. Beating Lacko is probably out of the question (as it is likely to be for Ward too), but if it comes down to a live 5th rubber against Klizan, Evans might surprise us.

Unfortunately, he can be remembered for almost relegating us twice (from Group I against Poland, and nearly into Group III after Lithuania), but he did acquit himself well against Berankis in Vilnius...took him to 5 sets.

Just got to hope that Ward can play a good match tomorrow, as everyone knows that a 0-2 situation effectively ends our chances.


I'm going to predict 3-2 to Team GB. Had a gut feeling even since Murray's withdrawal, so it will be interesting to see if the guys can deliver.
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Dan Evans (GBR) vs Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-3 7-5 ...
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Dan Evans wins first rubber 6-3 7-5 7-5.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Brilliant performance from Evans. Didn't expect that at all! If Ward can do the business then we've got a huge chance.
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Klizan beats Ward 6/2 4/6 6/4 7/6(4).

GBR and SVK level at 1-1, going into the doubles.


Evans was brilliant. Sure, Lacko wasn't at his best, but it is clear that Evans has a new attitude to his tennis. He has evidently worked hard in the gym, and on his game. The serve is stronger than it was two years ago, and he played with a scary level of belief. Even when he was twice a break down to Lacko in that second set, he shrugged his shoulders and broke back immediately on both occasions. The old Evans would have thrown in the towel at that point (and already a set down). He played very positive, aggressive tennis and took his game to a world class player. Credit to him, and he fully deserves that win. Hopefully he can use this as a platform for the rest of the season...he has the talent to challenge for top 150, and can certainly take the Brit #2 spot off Ward along the way.

Ward losing to Klizan was a bit of a disappointment. I wasn't expecting him to win, but I felt that he had a realistic shot. To be fair, Klizan is a little better than I was imagining, and clearly he will be tough to beat on Sunday.

1-1 is a fair scoreline after the first day, but I can't help thinking that we have blown a big chance to win the tie. The doubles is the only match left that we have a realistic chance of winning imo, so even if we lead 2-1 going into Sunday, I'm not particularly optimistic we'll win a reverse singles (even with another inspired Evans performance).

Still, it's better than 0-2.
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Fleming & Hutchins defeated Mertinak & Polasek 6/3 7/6(4) 0/6 6/3

I'd say the match played out as we'd expected really. We were slight favourites going in, but mindful that Mertinak had considerable Davis Cup experience, and Polasek was riding a top 20 ranking.

The first two sets were very tight...quality of returns wasn't great from either team, and it was mostly serve-dominated. We simply took our opportunities, and the Slovaks didn't do enough to create some of their own. That changed, though, in the third set. The Brits' level dropped a little, and the Slovaks just started to really go for their shots...and played spectacularly. We had little answer and, at *00/40 on the Hutchins' serve at the beginning of the 4th set, we were getting a little worried. However, the Slovaks' magic wore off rather abruptly. We won five straight points to hold, and were barely troubled after that.

A job well done imo...their best Davis Cup performance together, and the best partnership that they have beaten to date in this competition. They can beat other Group I partnerships, and could certainly have beaten some of the World Group pairings today as well.

If we could count on Murray a little more often, we'd have a genuine shot at 3 rubbers in many of these sorts of ties.

If he'd played this weekend, we'd be winning 3-1 tomorrow, with a rubber to spare...
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:28 PM   #12
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

So, GBR leads 2-1 going into Sunday. The best position we could have hoped for tbh, and the guys should be very proud of their attitude and effort so far. These are the sort of performances that Davis Cup is all about, and it is nice that we have a fighting chance to actually win a tie of this reasonable quality, without Murray. Only two years ago, we were falling apart against Lithuania...

4th rubber: Ward vs. Lacko
5th rubber: Evans vs. Klizan

Can't see past a live 5th rubber tbh.

Lacko didn't look great on Friday, but he'd have to play a stinker to lose to Ward imo. James should be competitive (but lose in straights), but his game is fairly one-dimensional and I don't think that will be enough to beat Lacko unless he produces an Isner-like serving performance...and that isn't going to happen.

So, on to Evans to decide our fate. He played live 5th rubbers against Poland and Lithuania, and lost both. However, as we witnessed on Friday, he is playing with a commendable, new mentality. Personally, I'm not expecting him to beat Klizan...he needs to replicate that performance from Friday, and it will be tough to do that. Klizan is also likely to provide a lot more resistance (than Lacko did). Hopefully Dan continues to see this as a learning curve, and enjoys the experience. Maybe he'll pull off another surprise, but even if he doesn't it should be remembered that it was his performance on Friday that has earned the team an opportunity to win tomorrow.

I predicted 3-2 to Team GB a couple of days ago, and I could still see us doing it. However, having seen a bit more of Klizan on Friday, I'd actually expect a 3-2 win for Slovakia. Klizan said to Castle that he doesn't get nervous playing these matches anymore, so it will be interesting to see whether any of that was bravado...
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

I have a feeling that Lacko will beat Ward in 5 sets and we will see another 5-setter right after then ! Really lookin forward to it
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Lacko defeated Ward 7/6(9) 6/1 6/3

Evans defeated Klizan 6/1 6/1 4/6 3/6 6/3

Superb again from Evans! His level dropped a little in the third and fourth sets but, in fairness, Klizan raised his game a bit and was a little too strong. Surprisingly, that didn't continue into the fifth set - Evans remained composed, and generated a nice break in the third game. He saved a break point in the sixth game, but otherwise held onto his service games in style, and pressured Klizan into a nervy last point double-fault for a very well-deserved win.


A huge weekend for Evans (and also for British tennis), and hopefully he will build on this immediately. His game, mentality, and conditioning is heaps better than it was a couple of years ago, and I have no doubt that he has the ability to be a top 150 player. The rest is up to him.

Regardless, it won't be the last anyone hears of him this year. Unless something happens over the next 8 weeks, he has all but earned singles matches against Belgium imo. On paper, Ward will be higher-ranked than him for a few more months, but Evans has a much broader range of skills that can be of greater threat at this level. Wildcards should also be extended to him for Queen's, Eastbourne and Wimbledon. With performances like that, he is capable of beating some of the weaker main draw players.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: Europe/Africa Zone Group I 1R: Slovak Republic @ Great Britain (February 10-12, 2

Fantastic victory here. To win without Murray makes it even better. Evans has been terrific in his two matches and has definitely enhanced his reputation. Hopefully, we see a lot more of him and hopefully, he can keep it up.
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