Huang Liang-chi beat Daniel King-Turner in straight sets in the Davis Cup yesterday to secure Taiwan’s place in Group I of the Asia/Oceania Zone.
Taiwan, leading 2-1 after the first two days in Kaohsiung, only needed a win from Huang in yesterday’s opening rubber to clinch the best of five tie. The world No. 372 duly delivered, dispatching his opponent 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1, to condemn New Zealand to relegation to Group II.
Next year Taiwan will again play in Group I, one level below the elite World Group.
New Zealand’s Artem Sitek beat Yang Tsung-hua 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) in yesterday’s final rubber, which was rendered meaningless by Huang’s victory.
Having lost the first two singles matches on Friday, New Zealand kept the tie alive on Saturday when King-Turner and Jose Statham beat Hsieh Cheng-peng and Huang 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-4 in the doubles.
Yang beat King-Turner 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) in the opening singles match on Friday before Huang defeated Michael Venus 6-4, 7-6 (7/0), 6-3 in the second.
The victory was Taiwan’s first against New Zealand in the Davis Cup and followed three defeats, the last of which was in 1995.
Meanwhile, Hsieh Su-wei, Taiwan’s top woman tennis player, confirmed yesterday that she has qualified for one of the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) two year-end climax tournaments for the first time.
The world’s No. 25 made the information public by posting a photograph on Facebook of an e-mail she had received from the International Tennis Association, informing her of her qualification for the US$750,000 round-robin event, which is scheduled to start in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Oct. 30.
The annual event is a competition between six of the highest-ranked players, who won an international level tournament this year, but did not qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul. Russian Maria Kirilenko and Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova have also gotten a wildcard entry into the event.
Hsieh, a Kaohsiung native, set a new milestone for Taiwan’s women’s tennis when she broke the ranking record of former Taiwanese tennis player Wang Shi-ting in 1993, who was then ranked 26th.