By Lawrence Trusida
Zimbabwe is set to remain in Davis Cup World Group two after a 4-0 drubbing by Tunisia in the competition’s knockouts played at Tennis Club de Tunis in Tunisia on Friday and Saturday.
The defeat deals a huge blow to the country’s hopes of moving back to the Davis Cup Elite world group.
Zimbabwe used to be in the top tier of World tennis but has been sliding down the ranks since the departure of the Black brothers.
Mehluli Sibanda, Lock brothers Benjamin and Courtney together with youngster Thabo Ncube made up the team that was whitewashed.
The odds were stacked against the visitors playing a team ranked seven places above them in the Davis Cup ranking but a better performance was also expected.
Zimbabwe lost the first two matches on the first day, Mehluli Sibanda going down 6-0 6-1 to the Tunisian number one ranked player Malek Jaziri, before the country’s top player Benjamin Lock was beaten 2-6 7-6 7-5.
Needing nothing short of victory to stay in contention the lock brothers teamed up to try and perform a rescue act however they found the Tunisian pair of Jaziri and Skander Mansouri in an uncompromising mood, and were beaten in straight sets 6-3 6-2 in the doubles.
Thabo Ncube the youngest member of the team was given his first Davis Cup bow in one of the two dead rubbers and he was beaten 6-4 6-0 by Aziz Ouakaa.
The two teams agreed not to play the final rubber.
After the win Tunisia progresses to the 2022 World Group I playoffs while Zimbabwe remains in the World Group two.