The Israeli national tennis team will advance to the Davis Cup playoffs after a surprising 3-2 victory in Tel Aviv on Sunday against the favored Japan team.
Israel's unexpected victory means that it could potentially reach the final 16-nation competition in the world’s most prestigious tennis team tournament.
The Japanese tennis team initially won the doubles game 6-2, 7-6 (2) against Daniel Cukierman and Edan Leshem.
Leading 2-1, Japan only needed to win one more match on Sunday at Tel Aviv’s Shlomo Group Arena.
However, the Israeli fighting spirit turned out to be decisive in the final matches.
Cukierman, who is only ranked 372, equalized the score to 2-2 with his victory over Sho Shimabukuro, who ranks 146th worldwide with the following scores: 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
In the fifth and final game, the Japanese star Shintaro Mochizuki, who ranks 193rd worldwide, won the first set 6-2 against Yishai Oliel, who holds a 470th ranking.
However, Oliel fought back and succeeded in winning the tight second set 7-5. He also won the third and final set with a 6-0 score, thereby securing Israel's victory over Japan.
The surprising Israeli victory has seriously reduced Japan’s chances of advancing to the playoffs. Israel’s next opponent will be decided this upcoming week.
Israel has participated in the Davis World Cup of Tennis tournament since 1949, with its best achievement so far took place in 2009, when it succeeded in reaching the semifinals.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.