Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Tennis: Marcus Daniell returns to New Zealand Davis Cup team

Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak during the Australian Open. Photo / Getty Images
Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak during the Australian Open. Photo / Getty Images

In form doubles player Marcus Daniell has returned for the New Zealand Davis Cup team, ahead of one of their toughest clashes in recent years.

New Zealand will face Korea in April in Auckland with the Asian team boasting world No 92 Hyeon Chung and another player ranked inside top 150.

Daniell - who missed out to Finn Tearney for the last tie against India in February - is selected alongside Rubin Statham, Michael Venus and Artem Sitak.

Daniell's return means Venus is likely to play singles alongside Statham, with Sitak and Daniell expected to form the doubles combination.

Last year New Zealand lost 1-3 to Korea in Seoul and is hoping to turn the tables in 2017. Overall New Zealand has a 7-3 head-to-head lead over their rivals.

"Korea is always going to be tough," said New Zealand non-playing captain Alistair Hunt.

"Last year they beat us in Seoul with snow around the courts. This time we've got home advantage and I hope we can get a crowd along to help out. We have three guys in the world's top 60 doubles players who are highly respected around the world and Rubin is coming off a couple of singles finals. We know the court well in Auckland and I think it's going to be a great tie with some top tennis."

Statham currently has a singles ranking of No 392 and reached two Futures finals in recent weeks, winning one. Venus is ranked No 40 in doubles and has a history of good singles performances in Auckland in the past. Daniell is at a career-high doubles ranking of 43 after reaching the final of the Sao Paulo ATP tournament earlier this month while Sitak is 54 after making three ATP doubles semi-finals in 2017.

The South Korean team is likely to be led by 20-year-old Chung, who boasts a career high ranking of 51, with their number two is Duckhee Lee (world No 135).

The Asia/Oceania Group 1 round one playoff tie will be staged at the ASB Tennis Centre and starts on Friday April 7 with two singles matches.

- NZ Herald

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