LONDON: World number 17 Cristian Garin was crushed 0-6, 1-6 in 50 minutes and won only one game to seal seeded Chile’s upset 3-1 loss to Slovakia in Bratislava in the Davis Cup World Group I on Saturday.

Norbert Gombos, ranked nearly 100 spots lower, also knocked off Nicolas Jarry on Friday on the indoor hard-court to help advance Slovakia to the Qualifiers for a third consecutive time.

The Slovaks must now wait to see whether they are automatically into the February qualifiers to reach the 2022 Finals.

Along with fifth-seeded Chile, sixth seeds India and seventh-seeded Uzbekistan were also beaten in Europe.

India, already 2-0 down to Finland in Espoo, was bundled out after the doubles when former world doubles number ones Henri Kontinen and Harri Heliovaara beat Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2).

Norway hit a bump while leading Uzbekistan 2-0 in Oslo when it lost the doubles. But 10th-ranked Casper Ruud clinched the tie in the first reverse singles by comfortably beating 567th-ranked Sanjay Fayziev 6-3, 6-1 and advancing Norway to its highest Davis Cup level.

Also, South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon clinched a 3-1 win over New Zealand on grass at the Hall of Fame in Rhode Island. South Korea joined Japan and Ukraine, which advanced in March.

In ties that started on Saturday, Belarusian Daniil Ostapenkov, a teenager who had not played professional-level match before, stunned world number 15 Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-3 in their match against Argentina.

The 18-year-old became the latest young gun to cause an upset following a US Open where teenagers seized the spotlight and 18-year-old Briton Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title.

Ostapenkov fired down three aces and saved seven break points to defeat Schwartzman on his home turf at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, although Guido Pella levelled the tie at 1-1 with a convincing win over Erik Arutiunian.

Top-seeded Belgium were in deep trouble after trailing Bolivia 2-0 in Asuncion, Paraguay. Veteran Ruben Bemelmans and Zizou Bergs, on his Davis Cup debut, won one set between them.

Joao Sousa equaled Joao Cunha-Silva’s all-time Portugal record of 37 Davis Cup match wins when he defeated Filip Cristian Jianu on his 20th birthday, but Romania won the second singles through Marius Copil at Cluj-Napoca in the teams’ first meeting in 26 years.

The Netherlands were leading Uruguay 2-0 in Montevideo without having to meet Pablo Cuevas, and Brazil led Lebanon 2-0 in Jounieh.

The eight highest ranked winners from the World Group I ties will go into the Davis Cup qualifiers next February where they will attempt to qualify for the 2022 Finals.

The other four nations will contest an additional kno­ckout round in Nove­mber with the winners ent­ering the qualifiers.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2021

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