Davis Cup: Lithuania VS Norway – Latvia VS Slovakia

The Davis Cup starts this Friday when two of three Baltic states will take part. Lithuanian national team will face in Oslo the local Norwegian team while Latvia will guest in Slovak Republic.

Slovak Republic will host Latvia in Bratislava in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I first round. This is the teams’ first Davis Cup meeting.

The Latvian team returns to this level for the first time since 2010 after defeating Finland in Riga during the last September. Ernests Gulbis made the difference, winning both of his singles matches, and successfully teaming up with Mikelis Libietis in the doubles, giving Latvia a 3-2 win. This time, Gulbis who is taking the 23rd place in the world will not take part in the upcoming meeting.

Latvia will be leaded by the second best Latvian Andis Juška who is 28 years old and taking the 569th place in the world. The second racquet in the Davis Cup team will be the young 19-year old Martinš Podžuš who is ranked at the 650th place in the ATP race. Martinš will play in the meeting with his twin brother Janis who is taking the 1054th place in the world. The fourth member in Latvia will be the non ranked 16-year old Arturs Lazdins.

The Latvians will have to face higher ranked Slovakian players. Slovak Republic will be headed by 24-year old Martin Klizan who is ranked 91 in the world. The second member is the 101st racquet in the world, the 26-year old Lucas Lacko. The 24-year old Andrej Martin who is taking the 133rd place in the ATP list will be the third racquet in the Slovakian team. The fouth member for Slovakia in this meeting will be the 34-year old Michael Mertinak from the 1348th place in the world.

The matches will start this Friday at 15:00 local time (16:00 Riga time).

Wonderful 4-1 victory over Cyprus gave to Lithuania good 2013 season start, and meant they progressed to the Group II Europe / Africa Zone quarterfinal. There, the Lithuanians faced in Lisbon a local strong team and failed to win a single set on the way to 0-5 loss.

Lithuania will guest in Norway. The leader for the team in Oslo will be the 150 world racquet the 23-year old Ričardas Berankis. Berankis will be assistant by the second best Lithuanian tennis player Laurynas Grigelis who had great 2013 season end with numerous “Chalenger” titles. Grigelis, who is 22-year old, taking the 242nd place in the world. The 19-year old Lukas Mugevičius whose rank is 962 will try to give his point for the team. The fourth member for Lithuanian team is the 17-year old Mantas Bugalaiskis who has not ATP rank.

While Latvia has strong team to face, Lithuania will play against weaker team. The best Norwegian tennis player in the team is the 19-year old Joahim Bjerke who is ranked at the 938th place in the world. Norway also will be presented by the 16-year old Viktor Durasovic who is ranked at the 1296th place in the ATP. The other two members have not ATP rank, the 32-year old Stian Boretti and the 29-year old Erling Tveit.

It is the second time that the teams are facing each other. The previous time was during the 2008 season. Then, Lithuania was the better team and they will hope to take 2-0 advantage.

The matches will start at 15:00 Norwegian time (16:00 Vilnius time).


Aleksejus Podpruginas
Aleksejus Podpruginas is The Baltic Review author based in Israel

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