Namibia remain in Africa Group III

The Namibian team, back row from left: Codie van Schalkwyk, Nguvi Hinda and coach Gerrie Dippenaar. Front row: Daniel Jauss, Steyn Dippenaar and Connor van Schalkwyk. Photo: contributed

Namibia’s national men’s tennis team remained in Africa Group III of the Davis Cup after beating Algeria 2-1 in Pretoria, South Africa on Saturday.  

Namibia got off to a good start after beating Zimbabwe 2-1 in their opening match on 9 August, and when they followed that up with another 2-1 win against Senegal the next day, they were well-placed to finish amongst the top three teams to be promoted to the Davis Cup World Group II.

Namibia’s chances, however, suffered a blow when their top-ranked player Connor van Schalkwyk tore his knee ligaments against Senegal, which put him out of action for the rest of the tournament. 

On 11 August, Namibia lost 2-1 to Benin, which then put them in danger of finishing amongst the bottom two teams to be relegated to Africa Group IV, with the result that Namibia had to beat Algeria in their final match on Saturday to retain their place in Africa Group III. 

Namibia got off to a losing start as Daniel Jauss, who stepped up to take Connor van Schalkwyk’s place, lost 6-1, 6-0 to Toufik Sahtali.

Namibia, however, drew level after a great victory by Connor’s brother Codie van Schalkwyk against Samir Hamza Reguig in the second singles match. Hamza Reguig won the opening set 6-4, but Van Schalkwyk stepped up a gear to win the next two sets 6-1, 6-2 to clinch a 2-1 victory. 

That put the sides level at 1-1 going into the final doubles encounter and Namibia once again prevailed in a dramatic three-setter. 

Hamza Reguig and Sahtali won the first set 6-4, but Van Schalkwyk and Steyn Dippenaar fought back to win the second set 7-6 (7-2), before clinching the final set 6-3 to win the match, and the tie, 2-1. 

Namibia’s coach Gerrie Dippenaar said he was very proud of his team. 

“It was a pretty tough week for us – the injury to Connor was a big blow to our campaign, but this team showed great character. We had to beat Algeria to remain in Africa Group III and the guys did that and I am so proud of them. It’s a privilege for me to captain this incredible team of Namibia,” he said. 

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