Davis Cup: Argentina hosts Lithuania with next tournament status at stake

The team led by Coria has to win to keep its place in the top group in 2024

Argentina’s Davis Cup team will host Lithuania this weekend, with the challenge of retaining its Finals Qualifiers status for the 2024 tournament. The team, led by former ATP singles number three-ranked Guillermo Coria, will play at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

The Albiceleste boasts a strong line-up, headed by ATP singles 21st-ranked Francisco Cerúndolo, who is joined by Sebastián Báez (28th) and debutant Tomás Martín Etcheverry (35). The doubles will be played by two ATP doubles’ top ten, Andrés Molteni (9) and Máximo González (10).

Coria’s team is looking to retain World Group I status after losing the Davis Cup Finals qualifier against Finland in February 2023.

Under the current Davis Cup format, 24 teams battle for a spot in the Finals at the Qualifiers. The winners go on to play for the title, while the rest (such as Argentina) fall to the World Group I, where they have to compete against winners from World Group II to retain their status for the following season.

Should Argentina lose, they would have to play in the 2024 World Group I Playoffs in order to not fall to World Group II.

Lithuania is coming up from that stage. Led by Sarunas Kulnys, the team’s four players are  former ATP singles’ 50th-ranked Ricardas Berankis (231), Vilius Gaubas (476), Edas Butvilas (532), and currently unranked Tadas Babelis.

“We know we have to win the series and put Argentina where it deserves,” Coria said in the build-up to the match. The former ATP top-ten player’s tenure has seemingly been at risk since the loss against Finland, but he’s hopeful about his future. “We think we are doing things well. We all make mistakes, obviously, but we are happy when we get good results, and we’re always ready to fix any problems.”

For Coria’s players, being on the Davis Cup team is a rare opportunity to represent Argentina on the court.

“Playing Davis is different from everything else,” said top-ranked Argentine Cerúndolo. “I experienced it many times as a fan and as a sparring partner. You can enjoy the fans’ support.”

“We hardly ever get to play in Argentina, except for the two ATP tournaments.I hope the stadium is packed and we can enjoy this beautiful experience,” he added.

The Davis Cup rules establish that on the first day of play, the highest-ranked player from each country faces the other side’s second-best. This means Cerúndolo (21) will open the series against Gaubas (476), while Báez (28) will face Berankis (231).

The series will begin tomorrow at 12 p.m. Argentina time, with the first singles matches. On Sunday, the action starts at 11 a.m. with the doubles match, followed by the two remaining singles. The games can be watched live on cable TV channel TyC Sports.


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