Guam makes tennis history, earn first Davis Cup win
Guam tennis history was made Tuesday after the island’s Davis Cup team secured its first victory by sweeping Mongolia in both singles and doubles action at the Sultan Qaboos Sport Complex in Muscat, Oman.
Christopher Cajigan moved Guam into prime position for the win, after dominating Mongolia’s Baatar Oyunbat in the day’s first singles match and cruising to a 6-3, 3-0 (ret.) victory after a little over a hour of play.
In the next singles match, Daniel Llarenas needed over two hours to put away Munkhbaatar Badrakh, in a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 thriller, serving out the match to secure Guam’s historic win.
In the ensuing doubles match, Mason Caldwell and Jean-Pierre Huynh played the day’s shortest match, dispatching Tamir Ankhbayar and Temuugei Enkhsaikhan 6-3, 6-1 in just 52 minutes to complete Guam’s 3-0 rout of Mongolia.
“This is such a great honor to finally represent Guam on a world stage and to be able to share our culture and community to the rest of the tennis world,” said Llarenas via Whatsapp. “The team is feeling good. As long as we continue to focus and fight, we will put Guam in a good position for promotion to Group III.”
As a first-time entrant to Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Guam was placed in Group IV, joining 11 other teams. The 12 teams were then drawn into two pools, with Guam in Pool B with Singapore, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, Bahrain, and Tajikistan. Pool A consists of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Myanmar, Iraq, Bangladesh, and Kyrgyzstan. The teams are competing daily through to the weekend in a round-robin format, with the top two teams from each pool moving onto a playoff round. The winning teams from the playoff round earn promotion to Group III, while the other countries remain in Group IV in 2019.
Pool B leaders Singapore defeated Guam in the teams’ first tie of round-robin play Monday. Cajigan fought through two hours, falling to Roy Hobbs 3-6, 6-4, 4-6. Singapore’s Shaheed Alam secured his team’s win with a 7-6(5), 6-2 win over Llarenas before the doubles team of Jensen Hui and Hao Yuan Ng won over Caldwell/Huynh 6-3, 6-2. Both Hobbs and Alam are professionals with international ranking points.
Guam will next play Turkmenistan Wednesday. Guam will still also play against Bahrain and Tajikistan before the weekend’s playoff round.
“We will take it day by day with (Tuesday’s) win,” said team captain Torgun Smith via Whatsapp. “We can approach our next matches with confidence knowing Mongolia has beaten some of our other opponents.”
Mongolia had beaten Bahrain on Monday before Tuesday’s loss to Guam. Turkmenistan fell to Bahrain before keeping Tajikistan winless with a win Tuesday.
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, dubbed as the World Cup of Tennis, is the world’s largest annual international team competition in sport, with 132 countries entered to compete in 2018, the Davis Cup Web site states. The tournament consists of five groups. The top group is the World Group, followed by Groups I, II, III, and IV. Groups I through IV are further subdivided by geographical region.
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