Zimbabwe have the opportunity to reach the World Group I Play-offs of the Davis Cup in 2021 when they take on China later this year in the annual team competition in tennis at Harare Sports Club.
The draw was not kind to Zimbabwe as they were handed the highest seed available in China. They do, however, have home advantage in the fixture.
In the 2019 Davis Cup final, Robert Bautista Agut, a player normally overshadowed by Rafael Nadal in Spain, played a huge role in his side’s success. Bautista Agut has really improved on the ATP Tour over the last 12 months and will be targeting Grand Slam glory now. He is 50/1 in the latest tennis odds for the French Open in 2021.
The four players involved in the current Zimbabwe Davis Cup team will be hoping the competition can be the catalyst to help their singles careers. No player from Zimbabwe has won a tournament on the ATP Tour since Bryon Black in 1999.
Benjamin Lock is the player with the most potential to really have an impact at the highest level. His Davis Cup record for Zimbabwe reads 30-12. His highest ranking in the sport was 391 which he achieved in 2018.
Lock has had some success on the ITF Future Tour in the singles game. He has also prevailed in the ATP Challengers Tour in doubles action alongside American Evan King. The biggest victory of his career came in 2020 in Launceston, Australia when he and King beat Kimmer Coppejans and Sergio Martos Gomes in the final.
Syria Win Gives Zimbabwe Momentum Going Into Latest Tie
Zimbabwe’s last Davis Cup fixture came against Syria in March 2020 in Zarare. They were victorious 3-1 in the preliminary World Group II contest. That success ensured they got the chance to participate in the World Group II tie against China.
Syria took an early lead in that match that year when Hazem Naw defeated Mehluli Don Ayanda Sibanda in straight sets. Lock levelled the scores as he dropped just six games in the second rubber against Amer Naow.
The doubles game can often have a big impact on how a Davis Cup tie is settled so it was a big win for Zimbabwe when Lock teamed up with his brother Courtney John to beat Naw and Yacoub Makzoume in three sets.
Lock completed his excellent run for his country when he came out on top 6-4 6-4 against Naw in the fourth and decisive rubber of that fixture. The victory ended Zimbabwe’s two game losing run as they were beaten by Poland and Romania respectively ahead of success.
If Zimbabwe can cause an upset against China, they will compete in a World Group I Play-off for the first time since 2005. It is a tie the whole country can look forward to later this year.