Hong Kong and Iran to face-off in Davis Cup A/O Zone Group II first round tie


Hong Kong plays host to Iran in a Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone Group II first round tie at Victoria Park from 3-4 February 2018. The official nominations for the home team are Jack Wong, Kevin Wong, Brian Yeung, Jackie Tang, Skyler Butts, and Yu Hiu Tung (Captain).

Aside from the opening ceremony scheduled for 1:45pm on Feb 3, play will commence daily at 2pm sharp.

Hong Kong has not hosted a tie at home since a 3-2 defeat to Indonesia in a Group II Relegation Playoff in 2012. Iran, meanwhile, nominated Anoosha Shahgholi, Shahin Khaledan, Ashkan Shokoofi, Mohsen Hosseinzadeh, Amir Hossein Badi, and Mustafa Saleh (Captain).

Yu Hiu Tung is captaining the side for the first time in Group II after leading the team to top of Group III in 2016 to earn promotion. As a player, Yu Hiu Tung has amassed 15 wins in singles and competed in a record 24 ties over eleven years of service. Two years ago, he received the Davis Cup Commitment Award, which is presented by the ITF to players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country in this prestigious competition.

"We do have a young team, with two of them being first-time nominations. They have been training well, and spirits are high among the team members. They are fit and raring to go regardless of who's number gets called come match day," said Yu. "Playing at home obviously is an advantage, but we understand Iran has several experienced Cup players on its side, so we will approach it the right way, and not take anything for granted."

HKTA President, Philip Mok, echoes similar sentiments, "Our players have always seen representing Hong Kong in the Davis Cup as the pinnacle of their tennis careers. Iran has a strong team, but this year we have an exciting young squad, and with home crowd support, I am sure our guys will give their very best to secure victory."

Hong Kong's Davis Cup Team Manager, Dr. David Ho, remarked, "We've selected a group of players who are extremely fit and in good form. They've been training hard for over a month now and I am confident they will get a good result for us."

In the opening round of last year's Group II, Hong Kong travelled to Ho Chih Ming and needed a fifth and deciding rubber to defeat Vietnam 3-2 to book a spot in the semifinal. Iran took on Pakistan away in Islamabad, but veterans Aisam Qureshi and Aqeel Khan proved too much to overcome, with the home nation settling for a 3-2 victory.

The winner of this week's tie between Hong Kong and Iran will advance to the Asia/Oceania Zone Group II semifinal against either Chinese Taipei or Lebanon.

The visitor's Shahin Khaledan and Mohsen Hosseinzadeh are the only two players who hold a current ATP ranking. Khaledan has a singles ranking of No. 1330 and doubles No. 1538, while Hosseinzadeh is ranked No. 1451 in doubles. Neither Khaledan nor Hosseinzadeh has won a title on the ITF Pro Circuit so far. Their best result as a doubles team is a semifinal showing at the Turkey F43 Futures in Nov 2017.

Veterans Anoosha Shahgholi, aged 37, and Ashkan Shokoofi, aged 38, combined to win a pair of doubles titles at the Iran F2 in 2005 and Iran F3 in 2006. Shahgholi's best result in singles was a semifinal showing at the Iran F3 in 2006. Shokoofi reached the quarterfinals of the Iran F1 in 2004; Iran F2, F3, and F4 in 2005; Iran F3 and F4 in 2006. Khaledan's best result in singles was a quarterfinal showing at the Turkey F44 in 2017 and Turkey F49 in 2005; Iran F2 in 2011. Semifinal at Iran F9 in 2015 and Iran F2 in 2012.

With Hosseinzadeh boasting only two career singles wins against Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan in Group III in 2012, it looks on paper stalwart Shahgholi could get the call for singles duty once again. Playing away from their preferred clay surface, Hong Kong should enjoy a slight edge on hardcourts and a supportive homecrowd.

Earlier, the International Tennis Federation announced that a two-day format with best-of-three-set matches will be trialed in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas this year, starting with the upcoming Zone Group I and II ties in February.

The two-day format will see two singles matches played on day one, and the doubles match followed by the two reverse singles matches on day two. The size of teams will also increase from four to five players, allowing nations to have greater flexibility in team selection. If the score is 3-0, only the fourth rubber will be played over best-of-three-sets, and with a match tiebreak at one set all and no-ad scoring. No fifth rubber will be played if the fourth rubber is decisive.

 

Head-to-Head

2016
Asia/Oceania Zone Group III Round Robin
Enghelab Sports Complex, Iran

Iran defeated Hong Kong 2-1

R1 Anoosha Shahgholi (IRI) d. Jackie Tang (HKG) 7-6(3) 6-4
R2 Shahin Khaledan (IRI) d. Karan Rastogi (HKG) 7-5 6-4
R3 Kevin Wong/Jack Wong (HKG) d. Mohammad Kargaranoroochi/Amirvala Madanchi (IRI) 7-6(4) 6-3


2013
Asia/Oceania Zone Group III Round Robin
Dubai Aviation Club, United Arab Emirates

Hong Kong defeated Iran 2-1

R1 Ashkan Shokoofi (IRI) d. Andrew Li (HKG) 6-3 6-3
R2 Phillip King (HKG) d. Shahin Khaledan (IRI) 6-1 7-6(4)
R3 Phillip King/Ognian Kolev (HKG) d. Anoosha Shahgholi/Ashkan Shokoofi (IRI) 6-2 6-3


2007
Asia/Oceania Zone Group II Relegation Playoff
Enghelab Sports Complex, Iran

Hong Kong defeated Iran 3-1

R1 Michael Lai (HKG) d. Anoosha Shahgholi (IRI) 6-7(3) 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-3
R2 Yu Hiu Tung (HKG) d. Ashkan Shokoofi (IRI) 6-4 7-6(2) 7-5
R3 Anoosha Shahgholi/Ashkan Shokoofi (IRI) d. Yu Hiu Tung/Henry So (HKG) 6-3 6-2 6-4
R4 Yu Hiu Tung (HKG) d. Anoosha Shahgholi (IRI) 6-7(1) 6-2 6-3 6-4
R5 Ashkan Shokoofi (IRI) v Michael Lai (HKG) DNP


2001
Asia/Oceania Zone Group II First Round
Victoria Park, Hong Kong

Hong Kong defeated Iran 4-1

R1 Michael Brown (HKG) d. Anoosha Shahgholi (IRI) 6-1 6-7(5) 6-3 4-0 Retired
R2 Wayne Wong (HKG) d. Ramin Raziyani (IRI) 6-2 7-6(6) 6-7(2) 6-2
R3 Michael Brown/John Hui (HKG) d. Akbar Taheri/Ramin Raziyani (IRI) 6-4 6-1 7-5
R4 Shahab Hassani-Nafez (IRI) d. John Hui (HKG) 7-5 6-3
R5 Wayne Wong (HKG) d. Akbar Taheri (IRI) 6-3 7-5

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