By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE suffered a disappointing 4-1 defeat to Romania in their 2019 Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group II match at the Sala Polivalenta Indoor Arena in Piatra Neamt on Saturday.
Zimbabwe started the second and final day with high hopes of causing an upset as the two teams were tied 1-1 after the country’s number two player Benjamin Lock ranked 546 had caused a huge upset by beating Romania’s Marius Copil ranked 80 in the first rubber of the tie 6-4, 7-5 on Friday.
However Romania, who had leveled the tie after Dima Dragos’ 3-6, 3-6 win over Takanyi Garanganga in the second rubber on Friday, made good use of their home advantage on day two to complete a clean sweep in the crucial doubles rubber and the reverse singles.
Brothers Benjamin and Courtney Lock lost 6-1, 6-4 to Haria-Vlad Tecau and Florin Mergea in the doubles before Copil gave the home team an unassailable 3-1 lead after defeating Garanganga 6-4, 7-5 in the reverse singles.
Mehluli suffered a 6-3, 7-5 defeat at the hands of Cristian Jianu in the singles dead rubber.
The decisive blow from the Romanians however came earlier in the doubles were the duo of Mergea and Tecau got the hosts off to the perfect start as they raced through the first set.
The Lock brothers offered a little more resistance in the second set but still fell short against the clinical Romanian duo.
Copil was far less ruthless when he took on Garanganga, as he converted just two of the 12 break points he earned, but his opponent did not manage to take any of his three opportunities, ensuring the tie went in Romania’s favour.
Holds of service were at a premium in a frantic final rubber that saw Jianu and Sibanda share 10 breaks of serve, but the former still won in straight sets.
Results at a glance
Benjamin Lock (ZIM) bt. Marius Copil (ROU), 6-4 7-5
Dragos Dima (ROU) bt. Takanyi Garanganga (ZIM), 6-3 6-3
Florin Mergea & Horia Tecau (ROU) bt. Benjamin Lock & Courtney John Lock (ZIM), 6-1 6-4