MINSK, 13 September (BelTA) – Portugal took a lead at the start of the Davis Cup Europe/Africa Group I tie against Belarus on 13 September, BelTA has learned.
In the opening singles rubber Ilya Ivashka of Belarus, world number 135, lost to Joao Sousa (World No.64) 6-4, 1-6, 2-6. The match lasted for an hour and 38 minutes.
The next singles rubber will feature Belarus' world number 199 Egor Gerasimov and Portugal's world number 179 Joao Domingues.
On the second competition day, 14 September, the doubles rubber featuring Uladzimir Ignatik and Andrei Vasilevski vs Joao Sousa and Pedro Sousa will be followed by two singles rubbers (Egor Gerasimov vs Joao Sousa and Ilya Ivashka vs Joao Domingues).
Captains Igor Tikhonko and Rui Machado are eligible to make replacements on competition day 2.
Earlier, Belarus faced Portugal in the Davis Cup in Minsk in 2002 (Belarus won 4-1) and in 2015 (Portugal claimed a 3-2 victory at home). Belarus currently goes 31st in the ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking, Portugal is 26th. The winner of the ongoing tie will get the right to play in the 2020 Davis Cup qualifiers.
In 2019 Davis Cup is played in a new format. The finals will feature 18 teams: four semi-finalists from 2018, 12 qualifiers, and two wild card nations. The new season-ending Davis Cup Finals will take place in Madrid, Spain on 18-24 November.
Group А - France, Serbia, Japan;
Group В - Croatia, Spain, Russia;
Group С - Argentina, Germany, Chile;
Group D - Belgium, Australia, Colombia;
Group Е – Great Britain, Netherlands, Kazakhstan;
Group F - Italy, Canada, United States.
The six group winners plus the two second-placed teams with the best records will qualify for the quarterfinals.
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