Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE will have to fight for survival again this year in the Europe/Africa Group II after they went down 1-4 to Finland in the first round tie over the weekend. The team made up of playing captain Martin Dzuwa, number one player Takanyi Garanganga, Mark Fynn and Courtney Lock found the going tough with their single victory coming from Garanganga in the reverse singles matches yesterday.
Garanganga beat Eero Vasa 7-6 (5), 7-5 but his win was not enough to redeem his side that was already 0-3 down after Friday and Saturday’s matches. Lock lost 1-6, 0-6 to Harri Heliovaara in the other match.
Zimbabwe lost the two opening singles matches last Friday with Lock going down to Jarkko Nieminen 0-6, 0-6, 0-6 while Garanganga was defeated by Heliovaara 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6,4-6.
Lock then partnered with Mark Fynn for the doubles on Saturday and they lost 1-6, 0-6, 1-6 to the pair of Henri Kontinen and Nieminen. Zimbabwe had to do without number two player, Benjamin Lock, who pulled out a few weeks before the tie due to college commitments.
Dzuwa said taking into account circumstances surrounding their tie, he is happy with the team’s performance despite their defeat over the weekend. “The boys did make us proud for the tie. I am happy with them, with what was there, they did very well,” said Dzuwa.
Last year Zimbabwe had to play in the relegation play-offs to remain in Group II after losing the first tie to Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-4 in the first round at Harare Sports Club. They then prevailed 5-0 over Moldova in the relegation play-offs at the same venue to remain in Group II. Zimbabwe earned promotion into the Europe/Africa Group II in 2014.
And it’s the same story again this year, they will now be playing to maintain their spot in Group II. They will meet Georgia in July, who lost 0-5 to Denmark in the other first round matches played over the weekend.