This is the second and final installment detailing the World Group at the Davis Cup.
Eight unseeded teams are pitted against the top eight teams.
The teams at the lower end of the spectrum, for the 2011 edition , in alphabetical order, are :
Austria, Belgium, Chile, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Romania and Sweden.
What do these teams have to offer?
Can they cause any major upsets?
A peek at these teams and their crusaders!
Austria are currently 15 in the Davis Cup rankings.
Their best-known singles player is Jurgen Melzer, a good pal of Roger Federer.
Mulzer is ranked 13 in the world. His best Grand Slam performance has come this season ,a semi-final finish at the French Open losing to Rafael Nadal the eventual champion.
However, it was the little-known Martin Fischer who did the honours and ensured that Austria secured a place in the World Group beating Israel at home 3-2.
His opponent in the deciding tie was Harel Levy.
Mulzer remains the mainstay of the team with his two singles victories proving crucial in ensuring a safe passage to the first round.
Man Of The Match: Jurgen Melzer
Belgium motored to a memorable and fortuitous victory against Australia at home. Lleyton Hewitt opted out of his reverse singles due to injury.
Belgium’s most memorable performance in recent times has been a semi-final finish at the 1999 Davis Cup.
Xavier Malisse and Oliver Rochus are the top two Belgians representing their country in Davis Cup.
Oliver Rochus belled the cat against the kangaroos winning his two singles and pairing up with Ruben Bemelmans to defeat Paul Hanley and Hewitt in the doubles tie.
Man Of The Match: Oliver Rochus
Chile, Oh Chile!
Are there any Chilean magicians to unfold some magic into the Davis Cup?
Oh, hell, yes, there’s Massu and there’s Fernando Gonzalez.
Massu has an interesting nickname Vampiro; I guess, that’s because of his emaciated appearance.
Massu is currently 123 in the world.
Fernando Gonzalez is their best player currently ranked 44 in singles.
Chile were beaten this year by the Czech Republic in the absence of their No. 1 player Gonzalez.
Can they make it more interesting next year?
Man To Watch Out For: Fernando Gonzalez
Germany, at home, are always a nightmare opponent.
And so it proved for South Africa when they took on the Teutonic might at Stuttgart.
A bleach wash ensued. And the score line 5-0 does no favours to the visitors.
Kohlschreiber, Beck, Mayer and Kas ensured that Sunday remained a day of rest.
Voest and Van Der Merwe had no counter to the carnage.
The South Africans had just 2 sets to show for all their efforts.
Man To Watch Out For: Philip Kohlschreiber
India were ready for the other South American powerhouse, Brazil.
The first day would have read 2-0 in India’s favor were it not for some last minute hiccups by Bopanna and Devvarman.
The second day was a walk in the park for the experienced duo of Paes and Bhupathi putting it across their opponents in straight sets.
The third day saw the Chennai sun beat down on the hapless antipodeans and they succumbed in four and a half sets to their ‘heated’ opponents.
India were back in the World Group for the second successive year.
Man Of The Match: Rohan Bopanna
Man To Watch Out For: Somdev Devvarman
Switzerland in the absence of Roger Federer, were left stupefied by the onslaught of the Kazakhstanis.
By Day 2, it was all over for the Swiss.
The Swiss cheese was perforated and gulped down by Golubev and Kukushkin.
Wawrinka failed to revive his form from the US Open.
This is Kazakhstan’s first ever appearance at the World Group level. Can they fly?
Man Of The Match: Andrey Golubev
Romania routed Ecuador 5-0 to enter the World Group once again.
Hanescu and Ungur were the architects of a fine win at home for the Romanians.
Ungur staved off the challenge from Giovanni Lapentti in the second rubber to make it 2-0 at the end of day one.
The doubles match was a mere formality in three straight sets and Hanescu proved victor!
Man Of The Match: Victor Hanescu
Sweden had their task cut out for them against the Italians despite playing at home.
Sweden last won the title in 1998. Can they spring a surprise this time around?
It’s up to that big man again!
Man Of The Match: Robin Soderling