5 nations seal Davis Cup finals debuts


    LONDON. — Five nations sealed their Davis Cup Finals debuts in the weekend’s qualifiers while heavyweights Germany, Australia, United States and Croatia also booked their places in Madrid.

    Ecuador, Sweden, Hungary, Czech Republic and Austria will all be in next week’s draw for the 18-nation showdown at La Caja Magica in the Spanish capital in November, having missed the inaugural finals last year when the international teams event was revamped.

    Ecuador’s 3-0 victory over Japan was perhaps not as surprising as it sounds as host Japan was without Kei Nishikori because of injury and world No. 48 Yoshihito Nishioka who did not travel because he was concerned that the coronavirus crisis would prevent his return to the United States.

    The match in Miki was played with no fans.

    The South Americans made light of the strange environment, however, with Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo securing the winning point in a decisive doubles victory over Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama.

    Sweden, who won the Davis Cup on seven occasions between 1975 and 1998 but have been in the doldrums, beat Chile 3-1 with Mikael Ymer claiming the decisive point.

    Hungary, which will host this year’s revamped Fed Cup finals, claimed a thrilling 3-2 win over Belgium.

    Trailing 2-1 after Saturday’s doubles, the Hungarians went through with singles wins for Attila Balazs and Marton Fuscovics.

    Fuscovics trailed Riben Bemelmans by a set but hit back to win 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-2.

    Czech Republic did not have to travel far to book its ticket, just across the border to Bratislava where it completed a 3-1 victory over Slovakia.

    In a late-night finish Czech number one Jiri Vesely dug deep to beat Andrej Martin 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.

    Austria, without world No. 3 Dominic Thiem, ended the hopes of Uruguay in Graz with Dennis Novak beating Pablo Cuevas to give his side a 3-1 win.