On Saturday, the qualifying match of the first world group of the Davis Cup between the men’s tennis teams of Lithuania and Sakartveli started in the “SEB Arena” of Vilnius.
In the first singles match, the second Lithuanian racket is the 19-year-old Willius Hood (ATP-366) after 1 hour 57 minutes of fighting 3:6, 6:1, 5:7 could not resist against the leader of the rivals, 22 years old Saba Purtseladze (ATP-450). Sakartvelas took the lead in the match against Lithuania 1:0.
In the first set, the fourth game became decisive, when V.Gaubas fell behind 15:40 during his serving and did not save. In other games, neither player had break points. In the ninth game, S. Purtseladze failed to realize a fairly simple “set point” when he played poorly after running to the net. However, Kartvel realized the second “set point” after V.Gaub’s mistake (3:6).
In the second set, V.Gaub managed to break away from his opponent early (3:0). S. Purtseladze was able to recover in the fifth game, but, leading 40:15, he was unable to win the Lithuanian’s service series. Not only that, in the sixth game V.Gaubas realized another “break point” and later won the set with a crushing margin (6:1).
Vilius Gaubas against Saba Purtseladze | Skirmantos Lisauskas/BNS Photo photo.
The decisive set was very changeable. V.Gaubas led 2:0 and had three break points in the third game. Kartvel seemed out of sorts at the time, frequently fretting and questioning who set up the video review system, which allegedly always showed Kartvel balls landing out of bounds. Unfortunately, V.Gaub was unable to take advantage of this – the Lithuanian did not realize three “break points” and then the emotional background changed drastically. In the fourth and sixth games, V. Gaubas lost his serving series and found himself on the edge of the precipice (2:5). V.Gaubas broke the bad streak only in the eighth game, when he won his innings series with difficulty (3:5). In the ninth game, Kartveli’s mistakes poured in – the Lithuanian took the lead 40:15 and created two break points. He did not realize the first chance, but won a very important point on the second attempt (4:5). In the tenth game, the Lithuanian confidently served the ball and equalized the result (5:5). In the eleventh game, Kartvel ended his poor streak (5:6), and in the twelfth game V.Gauba began to suffer from tension – the Lithuanian fell behind 15:40 during his serves. One “match point” was neutralized by V. Gaubas, but later he hit the edge and Kartvel celebrated an emotional victory.
“When I was down 0-2 and 15-40 in the third set, I told myself that I’m going to lose this match anyway, so I have to change something in my game. It worked and I took the initiative. I made mistakes in the ninth game and lost my serve streak. Later, new balls helped me to win the match. In general, the match was really good and I had fun playing against Vilius”, said S. Purtseladze.
Match statistics | Photo of the organizers.
V.Gaubas currently holds the highest place in his career in the ATP ranking. He made his debut in the ranks of the Lithuanian national team in 2021. and won 2 victories in 5 Davis Cup matches.
S. Purtseladze rose to 424th place in the ATP singles ranking last year. This year, the kart player started in Doha (Qatar), where he played two ITF tournaments – in one he reached the semifinals, and in the other he fell in the first round. S. Purtseladze has won 10 out of 11 matches in the Davis Cup. It is true that his previous 10 matches took place in the third and second groups of the world.
The national teams of Lithuania and Sakartvel have played in the Davis Cup 3 times before. in 1999 in the match of the third group in Estonia, Lithuanians beat Kartveli 2:1, 2009 In Vilnius, the Lithuanians celebrated their victory in the second group of the world 3:2, and in 2017 in the second group also took victory from Tbilisi – 3:2. in 2017 the Lithuanians managed to win even without having them in their ranks Richard Berankisand the Kartvelians were not saved by their star that time Nikolozas Basilashvili. The last one in 2019 reached as high as 16th place in the ATP singles ranking, but then he began to indulge in scandals, and lately he has been plagued by frequent injuries.
The winners of the match between Lithuania and Sakartvelo will advance to the first group of the world, and the losers will play in the second group of the world.