Pakistan vs India: Davis Cup drama

India lost a total of seven games in a 4-0 sweep of Pakistan last weekend in a Davis Cup qualifier.

It will face Croatia in March to try to qualify for Madrid.

In the absence of the experienced Aisam Qureshi, who boycotted when India refused to travel to Pakistan,  Pakistan fielded a three-man, rookie team.

Muhammad Shoaib, just 17, also was the captain.

Indian doubles star Rohan Bopanna also took a pass, after his federation replaced captain Mahesh Bhupathi because of his refusal to go to Pakistan – even after the tie was moved to neutral site Kazakhstan.

Always bringing the drama.

Davis Cup age record broken in San Marino

Davis Cup isn’t just Madrid. It goes all the way down to Group IV, European zone.

And on Wednesday, Domenico Vicini became the oldest man to win a Davis Cup rubber. He defeated Genc Selita of Kosovo 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Vicini turns 48 Sept. 1. 

Selita is 21.

Vicini returned with 22-year-old Marco de Rossi to win the deciding doubles

San Marino, a microstate with a population of 35,000, has been competing since 1993.

It’s Vicini’s 96th tie.

He played a few satellites in the mid-90s, and got some wild cards into the now-defunct ATP stop there.

But Davis Cup has been his tennis career.

There’s Davis Cup this weekend

Believe it or not, there is Davis Cup going on this weekend.

Israel is hosting Romania in a Europe/Africa Zone Group I play-off. The loser drops down to Group II which, for two nations with world-class players, is a tough demotion.

Israel, led by Dudi Sela, is off to a 2-0 lead after the first two rubbers on Friday.

The Romanians are missing several of their best players. They have never lost to Israel in Davis Cup. 

The other Group I relegation tie between Slovakia and Poland (won 4-1 by Slovakia) took place the weekend of Sept. 15-17.

Levy Israel’s new Davis Cup captain

The Israeli Davis Cup squad will face Romania Oct. 27-29 with a new captain, as Harel Levy replaces Eyal Ran after 12 years.

It’s a relegation tie; the winner remains in Europe/Africa Group I.

Levy will have his best available, led by Dudi Sela and doubles specialist Jonathan Erlich.

Not so for Romania, captained by Simona Halep coach Andrei Pavel.

He’ll be missing No. 1 Marius Copil and No. 3 Adrian Ungur (13 Davis Cup ties). Also missing are doubles specialists Horia Tecau and Florin Mergea.

Tecau and Dutch partner Jean-Julian Rojer will be playing in Vienna next week.

Irma delays Mirnyi’s Davis Cup arrival

The reason for Max Mirnyi’s delayed arrival in Biel, Switzerland for Belarus’s World Group playoff tie wasn’t funny.

But at least it made for a hilarious pic – a step up from the usual stilted handshake photos as partner Andrei Vasilevski carried on without him.

Vasilevski was a ballboy when Belarus beat Russia in 2004 – and Mirnyi defeated Marat Safin 11-9 in the fifth set.

Mirnyi, who lives in Sarasota, Fla., didn’t make the official press conference for his 56th Davis Cup tie because of the travel issues caused by Hurricane Irma. He arrived at 10:49 a.m. Thursday.

Did you know? Davis Cup last weekend

Davis Cup isn’t just the World Group and big, noisy stadiums four times a year.

It’s tiny countries battling, away from the spotlight, all year long.   

In Montevideo, Uruguay and Puerto Rico earned promotions to Americas Zone Group II over the weekend.

Ireland and Luxembourg moved up to Europe-Africa Group II in April in Bulgaria. The African playoffs are the week of July 17 in Cairo; the Asia-Oceania playoffs will be in Sri Lanka the same week.

 Asia-Oceania Group IV ties were played the first week of April in Bahrain.