Pakistan prepare to face Thailand in Davis Cup

Published: September 13, 2017
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Dispiriting: Since 12 years, Pakistani players have been forced to play their ties abroad on neutral venues due to the security situation in the country. Photo: FILE

Dispiriting: Since 12 years, Pakistani players have been forced to play their ties abroad on neutral venues due to the security situation in the country. Photo: FILE

KARACHI: Pakistan will be taking on Thailand in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group II final on Friday in the hopes of getting their place back in Group I with a win.

The three-day tie will be played in Islamabad at the Pakistan Sports Board Complex on the newly-laid grass courts and non-playing captain Mohammad Khalid believes that Pakistan should keep their record of winning at home intact.

“It is going to be a tough tie, there is no doubt about that,” Khalid told The Express Tribune. “We are well-prepared and we have been training hard. I feel we have the edge because it is our surface. We have great players in Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan and we feel we can win it this time too as we’ve won all our Davis Cup tie at home on grass.”

Khalid added that it is a big moment for Pakistan tennis to host the final and the Thai players have been provided with the best security.

However, they will be struggling because of their good form on hard court and grass will prove to be difficult for them.

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“Thailand are really good professionals but grass is not their biggest strength as there is no bounce on it and they would really struggle on that front,” he said.

He also addressed the press conference along with Thai captain Vittaya Samrej on Tuesday at Serena Hotel as well, and Khalid said that the event will be a success as the visitors are comfortable in Islamabad.

“We’ll have Aisam and Aqeel, and our goal is to have the lead on day one, it is crucial,” said Khlaid. “We might use the other two players Abid Mushtaq and Shahzad Khan depending on the results of each day.”

Meanwhile the draws ceremony will take place on Thursday.

Pakistan got the chance to host Davis Cup ties after 12 years as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) had kept Pakistan on the list of unsafe venues.

Quick start the key for Pakistan: Aqeel

Pakistani players were forced to play their ties abroad which resulted in them losing their home advantage.

Earlier, Pakistan defeated Iran 3-2 in the first round and got a bye against Hong Kong as they refused to visit Pakistan for the event.

Pakistan are top seeds in the Group II and against Thailand they have played eight ties, winning four and losing as many.

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