Bothwell sets up Ireland must-win tie
Peter Bothwell helped Ireland to a fourth straight Davis Cup win in San Marino yesterday as they defeated Malta 3-0 to book a play-off place against Cyprus today.
Another Irish victory would clinch them promotion into in the third-tier of the competition's Euro-Africa zone but the Cypriots will represent a step up in class after beating Bothwell's team three years ago in similar circumstances.
Yesterday, the Ulsterman had to dig deep to clinch Ireland their win and render the subsequent doubles rubber irrelevant although Julian Bradley and Osgar O'Hoisin were able to complete the 3-0 whitewash as they swept to an impressive 6-4 6-3 victory
Following Simon Carr's opening 6-0 6-2 singles win over Omar Sudzuka, and up against the experienced tour professional Matthew Asciak, Bothwell lost his serve early on.
But the 22-year-old broke back and then pounced on his opponent's serve again at 6-5 to take the first set before coasting the second to run out a comfortable 7-5 6-0 winner.
Bothwell said: "I hadn't been happy with my form going into the Davis Cup and it has taken me some time to find it since we arrived in San Marino.
"It was a tough first set out there today once again but I managed to find a way to win it and then played a lot better in the second.
"But this is very different from being on the tour as it's all about the team in the Davis Cup and not individuals.
"The lads have been in great form and we are looking forward to the Cyprus tie while being smart enough to realise it's going to be a big challenge but it's one we are looking forward to.
"I played the same guy three years ago and I know he prefers hard courts to astro so that might help and we are all going to be fired up for the tie."