In form Daniell in Davis Cup recall


Tennis

Wairarapa's Marcus Daniell is part of the 2XU New Zealand Davis Cup tennis team which will play Lebanon in an Asia-Oceania group two-tie match at Albany Tennis Park in North Harbour this weekend.

Playing for his country will be nothing new for Daniell who has had previous experience of Davis Cup ties and his latest selection comes on the back of some impressive form over the latter part of 2012.

He ended up with seven doubles titles for the year on the Futures professional circuit as well as making two other doubles finals. In singles play, he made the semifinals on two occasions.

Daniell has a world singles ranking of 693 and he will be joined in the New Zealand squad by Dan King-Turner who is ranked 375, Artem Sitak (553) and Matt Simpson (1566).

King-Turner has made one quarter-final and one semifinal in singles play in Challenger professional tournaments over the past 12 months as well as winning a Futures title. In doubles, he made the semifinals of the 2012 Heineken Open.

Sitak reached one singles final and three semifinals at Futures tourneys last year as well as reaching a Challenger doubles final while Simpson, who spends most of his time playing club tennis in Germany, has made a couple of Futures singles finals.

Making his debut as team captain for New Zealand will be Alistair Hunt who played for his country on 19 occasions and was ranked in the top 200 in the world.

"This is a tie we have to win, and we expect to do so," Hunt said of the Lebanon match. "We're playing at home and we know the courts well."

The tie was originally meant to be held in Beirut, Lebanon, and was then programmed for Cairo, Egypt, before being transferred to North Harbour because of player safety concerns.

The Lebanon team consists of Karim Alayli, Patrick Chucri, Ibrahim Abou-Chahine and Michael Massih, none of whom have ATP singles rankings. This weekend's winner will then take on either Pakistan or Sri Lanka in April.

Meanwhile, matches in the Wairarapa regional one tennis competition will resume after the holiday break with Gladstone playing Opaki at Gladstone and Martinborough up against Masterton at Martinborough.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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