Israel's captain in the Davis Cup tournament, Eyal Ran..
(photo credit: ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Israel’s quest to return to the Davis Cup World group enters a nine-month hiatus after the national team completed a 3-2 win over Slovenia at the Drive-In Arena in Tel Aviv on Sunday.
The blue-and-white had already wrapped up the victory and secured itself another year in Europe/Africa group on Saturday after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead. That allowed captain Eyal Ran to hand 18-year-old Ben Patael his singles debut in the competition on Sunday.
Patael teamed-up with Dudi Sela to win the doubles rubber on Saturday, but dropped to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 defeat to Aljaz Radinski on Sunday.
Slovenia was then awarded a win in the fifth match as Israel ran out of fit players, with Dudi Sela, Amir Weintraub and Edan Leshem all being ruled out through injury or illness.
The draw for next year’s Group I will be held in two months, with Israel’s next tie not taking place before March 2016.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray carried Britain to its first Davis Cup semifinal since 1981, after he beat France’s Gilles Simon 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-0 on Sunday to give the hosts an unassailable 3-1 lead.
An out-of-sorts Murray, who was playing his third rubber of the weekend following Saturday’s doubles victory alongside brother Jamie, looked to be in trouble as he trailed Simon by a set and a break.
Simon had two medical timeouts during the match following heavy falls and m urray, a double grand Slam winner, was able to capitalize in front of a partisan crowd at the sun-kissed Queen’s Club in west London.
Britain will play Australia in the semis after the Aussies recovered from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 against Kazakhstan.
Ageing tour warrior Lleyton Hewitt banished a tumultuous week for Australian tennis by clinching victory in the final singles against Kazakhstan. The hard-bitten former world number one trounced Aleksandr Nedovyesov 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-3 in the Darwin sunshine.
After Nedovyesov blasted past the baseline to surrender, 34-year-old Hewitt slumped on his back on the grasscourt to deafening cheers from a raucous home crowd before being mobbed by his whooping teammates.
“I love the back-against-the-wall situation,”the two-time Grand Slam champion said in a courtside interview.
Argentina, which beat Israel in the World Group playoffs last year, faces Belgium in the other semifinal.Reuters contributed to this report