BRATISLAVA, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Slovakia's tennis team defeated Switzerland 3-1 in Group I of the Davis Cup in their first-ever clash to advance to next year's qualifiers for a chance to participate in the final tournament in Madrid.
The clash started on Friday with a shocking loss for the Slovak number one Martin Klizan. The former Top 30 player in the world is struggling to find the motivation to continue his tennis career and was stunned by Sandro Ehrat. The world number 286 earned his first Davis Cup win, beating Klizan 6-2, 7-6 to secure the first point for the visiting team.
Since 2015, the Swiss Davis Cup team has lacked their biggest stars Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka and has had to rely on younger talents. The role of the team leader was awarded to the Finnish-born Henri Laaksonen who failed to copy his colleague Ehrat in the second match-up and succumbed to Andrej Martin 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
With the clash in Bratislava tied at 1-1, it continued on Saturday with a doubles match between Slovakia's Filip Polasek and Igor Zelenay against the Swiss team of Laaksonen and last-minute substitute Jerome Kym. The experienced Slovak veterans were no match for Laaksonen and the 16-year-old Kym and they put Slovakia into the lead for the first time after a solid 6-3, 6-3 triumph.
Slovakia's captain Dominik Hrbaty then decided to shake things up and put 117th ranked Norbert Gombos up against Laaksonen to play in the possibly deciding reverse singles match instead of Klizan. Gombos proved him right, soaring over his weary opponent 6-1, 6-1 in under an hour and sealing the overall win for Slovakia in the National Tennis Centre in Bratislava.
The Slovaks secured a spot in the Davis Cup Finals Qualifiers that will be played in March of 2020.