By Nemanja Bjedov
THE Cyprus national tennis team will take on hosts Denmark in the first round of the Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group II, in Copenhagen this weekend.
This will be the first time that the nations have met in a Davis Cup tie. Cyprus will be without their top player Marcos Baghdatis for the clash, which was also the case last season when they lost 4-1 to Lithuania before winning a relegation play-off against Benin to remain in Group II for a ninth consecutive year.
Cyprus captain Dimitris Herodotus has selected Sergis Kyratzis, Christos Hadjigeorgiou, Petros Chrysochos and Photos Photiades to represent the island against the experienced Danes who will be looking to bounce straight back into Group I, having been relegated at the end of 2013 in a dramatic 3-2 loss to Sweden. Despite being 2-0 up at the end of the first day, the Danes could not finish the tie off, with the Swedish pair of Johan Brunstrom and Robert Lindstedt winning the doubles, before Markus Eriksson and Elias Ymer beat Frederik Nielsen and Martin Pedersen respectively, to complete the comeback.
This will be first time that Denmark will compete in Group II since 2011.
All eyes will probably be on young Chrysochos who joined the team shortly after returning from Melbourne where he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open Juniors and as a result climbed eight positions to 32nd place in the junior rankings.
Although the hosts expect the stands of the hard court indoor stadium to be sold out, which means around 500 spectators, some of them could be cheering for Cyprus as the Cypriot Embassy in Copenhagen made arrangements for a number of Cypriots who live and work in the Danish capital to come and watch the matches.
Ambassador Demetris Samuel visited the Cypriot delegation earlier this week to wish them good luck.
The tie will commence this afternoon at 3pm local time with the first singles rubber, immediately followed by a second one.
The doubles will be played tomorrow afternoon, with the tie concluding on Sunday with the remaining two singles rubbers.
The winner or the tie will secure their Group II status and also give themselves a chance to advance to Group I, while the losing country will have to play a relegation play-off round against either Morocco pr Luxembourg in order to remain in the group.