Ireland had many wins on the international stage over the weekend but one of the furthest flung and potentially least expected was in El Salvador where the irish Men’s Tennis team defeated a tough home side to advance to the World Group I Playoffs of the Davis Cup in February 2024.
Ireland got off to a solid start with No.2 player Conor Gannon defeating Cesar Cruz on his debut for Ireland 6-1, 6-0 in front of a packed and partisan crowd on Saturday.
Ireland’s no.1 Osgar O’hOisin had the tough task of facing 2022 French Open doubles champion and experienced player, Marcelo Arevalo having set point at 5-4 however the set went to a tiebreak where Marcelo won 7-6 (7-5) to take the first set. Marcelo comfortably led the second set and eventually took the match 7-6, 6-1.
With up to three matches on the second day to decide the winners of the tie, Ireland changed their doubles nomination (previously David O’Hare and Osgar O’hOisin) to David O’Hare and Conor Gannon in order to preserve O’hOisin for a potentially deciding match.
They faced Marcelo Arevalo and his partner Lluis Miralles. In a tight opening few games, Ireland started well and got an early break, building momentum with each game and secured the first set 6-2.
The Irish pair started the second set strong and once again got an early break on Miralle’s serve. The pair were 5-2 up but Arevalo and Miralles fought back to hold serve and make it 5-3, making Ireland serve it out for the match which they did.
El Salvador changed their no.2 singles nomination from Marcelo Arevalo to Diego Duran who faced Osgar O’hOisin in the fourth match.
Duran started strong but O’hOisin found his rhythm and took the first set 6-3 before sealing the match in the second set (6,3, 6-3) to secure the win for Ireland.
Both captains agreed on playing the fifth match where Freddy Murray made his debut for Ireland after Simon Carr and Michael Agwi had to withdraw from the team late last week due to injury.
Murray played the fifth match against Jose Flores and took the match 6-0, 6-0 in a very promising debut to seal the tie 4-1 to Ireland.
Ireland now await the draw for the World Group I Playoffs in February 2024. This will take place on Wednesday.
The Irish team has been captained by Conor Niland since 2015. During his career as a player, where he made the main draw at both Wimbledon and the US Open, he played 29 Davis cup matches, winning 17.