The Slovenia Times

Slovenia advance in Davis Cup


Portorož - The Slovenian men's tennis team has advanced to the Davis Cup World Group I qualifiers after defeating Estonia 4:0 in World Group II. After Slovenia won two singles matches on Friday, Aljaž Bedene and Blaž Kavčič also won the doubles competition on Sunday. Slovenia followed up with another singles win.

Bedene and Kavčič beat the Estonian pairing of Kenneth Raisma and Mattias Siimar 6:3, 3:6 and 6:1 in Portorož in the morning before they both officially ended their careers in the sport at a brief ceremony at the seaside town.

Bedene already scored a point for Slovenia in the singles competition on Friday, defeating Kristjan Tamm 6:7 (5), 6:3, and 6:4. Bor Artnak secured the first point for the team by beating Estonia's best player Mark Lajal 0:6, 6:1 and 6:3.

"The fact that we didn't win any match until the third set tells you that it was anything but easy, taken for granted. We had to show respect and put aside the rest, about the rankings and having the role of favourites," said the team's coach Grega Žemlja, praising Bedene and Kavčič for their confident play in the doubles.

Slovenia now face qualifiers to advance to World Group I. In March they had to concede to Chile. "Next year in late February or early March we'll be in a similar position. We may be hoping for a better draw than the one against Chile, but it's no longer in our hands," said Žemlja, adding they would get ready.

In the final match today after Slovenia had already secured a place in the qualifiers, Matic Križnik got the chance to score the fourth point for Slovenia as Mark Lajal retired due to problems with his wrist.

Tenis Slovenija hosted a brief ceremony for Bedene and Kavčič as they bid farewell to the national team.

"It was good to play the last game with Blaž. I honestly wanted us to win, also because I wouldn't be in the best shape to go forward, getting a problem with my lower back during the first match on Friday. In the end, it worked out the way it was supposed to," said Bedene.

"It was emotional, especially during the speech. It's never easy, but tennis was my life and I gave it all. I'm glad it ended the way it did," said Bedene, once the 43rd player in the ATP rankings and a finalist in four top-level tournaments.

Kavčič wrapped up the last match of his career with an ace, which surprised him. "It was funny because one of my best friends was standing next to me and said, 'come on ace'. I was about to cry when I was bouncing the ball because I knew it was going to be the last serve. I did it and I couldn't have asked for a better ending," said Kavčič, 35.

Scoring the deciding point in Portorož in the great weather in front of full stands, with his family there was "unforgettable, I will always remember that. It will be a golden point in my career", said Kavčič.


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