Pakistan and India paired in politically prickly Davis Cup draw

There is a long history of sporting boycotts between the countries and no foreign cricket team has toured Pakistan since Pakistan hosted Uzbekistan and South Korea last year on grass courts in Islamabad. (Photo courtesy: @DavisCup/Twitter)
Updated 07 February 2019
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Pakistan and India paired in politically prickly Davis Cup draw

  • Indian government froze all sporting ties with Pakistan after Mumbai attacks
  • The two nations met at a neutral venue

LONDON: Pakistan were drawn at home to India on Wednesday in an Asian Davis Cup qualifying tie that could present political problems.
On the basis of the world rankings, India, who were seeded No.1 in the Asia Pacific draw, will be overwhelming favorites to win and advance to the World Group qualifying round.
The problem is that the Indian government froze all sporting ties between the countries after the deadly attacks on Mumbai in 2008 which were blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
“AITA does not have a choice,” the All India Tennis Association Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee told Indian news agency PTI.
“We have to follow the government policy. We will speak to the government to know. They have not allowed any sports team to travel to Pakistan.”
The tie is due to be played in September.
There is a long history of sporting boycotts between the countries and no foreign cricket team has toured Pakistan since Pakistan hosted Uzbekistan and South Korea last year on grass courts in Islamabad.
India and Pakistan have met six times in the competition, though three of those meetings came in consecutive seasons from 1962-4. India have won every time, racking up an emphatic 23-4 aggregate score in total rubbers.
In 1971, the two nations were drawn together but the tie was not played with India awarded a walkover.
India have played in Pakistan twice, both times in Lahore, but the most recent of those visits was in March 1964, with India winning 4-0.
The two nations met at a neutral venue, in Kuala Lumpur, in 1972.
Pakistan have visited India since, losing at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, 3-2, in 2006. That was the only time Pakistan have taken India to the final rubber.
“It’s a good draw for us with the depth in our team,” said Mahesh Bhupathi, who played in the winning doubles pair in 2006 and is now India’s Davis Cup captain. “We are looking forward to winning and getting back to the World Group Play-offs again.”
Neither Bhupathi nor India coach Zeeshan Ali would comment when asked by PTI if the government should allow the team to travel, or if they are willing to travel, to Pakistan.


Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

Updated 18 April 2019
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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

  • Medvedev eliminates 6th seed Tsitsipas in three sets

MONTE CARLO: Top seed Novak Djokovic and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal showed no mercy in dominating wins to power into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals on Thursday.

Djokovic extended his winning streak against US players with a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Taylor Fritz.

The two-time tournament champion has now won nine in a row over Americans since losing at Wimbledon in 2016 to Sam Querrey.

“It was very challenging to play in these (windy) conditions,” Djokovic said. “Taylor just flattens the ball.

“We had five, six close games in the first set, I just managed to break his resistance midway through.

“After that, things went on my side and I felt more comfortable.

“This was one of these days where you just have to hang in there and try to put an extra ball back in the court — that was enough.”

Nadal repeated last year’s semifinal win over Grigor Dimitrov, beating the Bulgarian for the 12th time, 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m very, very happy, this is an important victory for me,” the second seed said after winning his 23rd consecutive set at the tournament.

“Grigor is a super talent and is very dangerous. It was a positive match for me.

“I had a good day, I can be happy with what I did on court.

“When you don’t play on clay for almost a year, every win is important for the confidence, especially as I’m coming back from injury.”

Spain’s 17-time Grand Slam champion started his clay season this week after missing a month with another knee problem and has title-holder points to defend here plus Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros.

The king of clay is bidding for a 12th trophy in the principality. His record at the event is a staggering 70-4.

Nadal spent almost an hour in securing the first set but picked up the pace in the second as he ran out the winner.

He next faces Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

World No. 1 Djokovic will be playing his ninth quarterfinal here from 13 appearances at his home event.

Djokovic turned in a steady performance with a dozen winners and unforced errors, while his opponent committed nearly 30 unforced errors in 68 minutes.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier lost 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 as Daniil Medvedev continued his run of form.

The Russian will next line up against Djokovic after losing to him in January in the Australian Open fourth round.

Tsitsipas was caught on the back foot facing three match points as he trailed 0-40 on his serve late in the second set. After saving the first two, the Greek botched the third to seal his exit after an hour and three-quarters.

Medvedev increased his leading total of ATP season match wins to 20 as a result after he beat Tsitsipas for the fourth time in as many attempts.

“This was a great achievement for me,” Medvedev said. “Everything was perfect today.

“Some wind came up in the second set and I could not get used to it. But in the third, I just worked to put every ball in the court.

“I was pleased to fight back after going a break down in the third set.”

The player who stands a career-high 14th credits his rising form to a renewed dedication to the sport.

“I’ve been working hard for the past 18 months —  since before the start of 2018. I’ve dedicated my life to tennis, which I did not do before,” Medvedev said.

“I had my best season last year — hopefully this year will be better.”

The Russian reached his first quarterfinal at the Masters 1000 level after winning his second match against a Top 10 opponent.

Tsitsipas, runner-up last season to Nadal in Toronto, suffered his eighth defeat of the season against 18 wins and will try and lift his game next week on the clay of Barcelona. 

Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego defeated Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5.