Tennis: Malta Davis cup team perform well in Bulgaria

Friday, April 21, 2017, 18:07

Mark Camilleri

The 2017 European Group 3 zone was this year held in Sozopol Bulgaria. The Malta team was captained by Steve Caruana, with Matthew Asciak, Omar Sudzuka, Denzil Agius and Ben Farrugia forming the Malta team. Malta was placed in group B along with top seeds Macedonia, Moldova and Iceland. Matthew Asciak’s performances was probably one of the best ever by a Maltese player. The Malta Champion won all his 3 singles matches and 2 doubles matches.

On the first day Malta faced the strong team of Macedonia. Here Matthew Asciak produced probably one of his best ever Davis Cup performances when he beat Tomislav Jotovski 6/3 3/6 6/2. In the other match Omar Sudzuka played a very good match just losing to Grabul 6/3 6/4. In the final rubber Asciak and Sudzuka just lost to Grabul and Deari 7/5 7/5. In both sets the Maltese pair led 4-2 on both occasions.

In their second encounter Malta faced Moldova. Once again Matthew Asciak was in great form and defeated his Moldovan opponent Soltoianu 6/1 6/1. Denzil Agius faced Bulat and lost 6/0 6/4. In the doubles encounter the Maltese pair of Asciak and Sudzuka were beaten 6/1 6/1 against Baskov and Clumac.

In the third and final encounter of the group Malta beat Iceland 2-1. Matthew Asciak beat Birkir Gunnarson 6/2 6/1. Omar Sudzuka lost to Rafn Bonifacius 6/1 6/2. In the final rubber Asciak/ Sudzuka came back from 1-4 in the final set to win the encounter 7/6 2/6 6/4. Malta then faced Albania in their final encounter. Omar Sudzuka faced Zili and easily disposed of his opponent 6/1 6/1, Denzil Agius who was battling a bout of flu all week lost to Mjestitri 6/2 6/3. In the final doubles match Asciak/Sudzuka beat Shypheja/Sulsova 6/0 6/1.

Malta Davis Cup Captain Steve Caruana was very pleased with these results and due to the teams good showing Malta gained 10 places in the international rankings. He also added that the inclusion of youth player Ben Farrugia as part of the team would proved beneficial to him and his development.

This year’s Davis Cup was an excellent opportunity for the Malta team to get some matches under their belt in preparation for the Small Nations Games to be held in San Marino in May.

Malta Tennis Federation President Dr David Farrugia Sacco stated that this year saw Malta perform beyond expectations in that each rubber was decided in the last deciding doubles and Malta beat countries considered to be in its category and lost by a margin to more quoted countries. He concluded by stating that promotion was now a reality and thanked the players and captain for their commitment.


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