In the 2013 and 2015 tournaments, Vietnam had beaten Hong Kong, which grabbed their only win in 2005. “We come prepared,” said captain Truong Quoc Bao. The faceoff will be held at HCM City’s Phu Tho Tennis Club.
In the three-day meet, Vietnam, apart from having the advantage of playing on home ground, have on their side world No 635 Ly Hoang Nam, the highest seed among all participants. Nam will face Li Hei Yin Andrew, who ranks 1,522 in the world, in the second single’s match.
The first match will see world No 1,443 Nguyen Hoang Thien playing against No 911 Wong Kit Hong.
Nam’s second match will be against Wong in Rubber 4, while Thien will meet Li in Rubber 5.
Young talent Nguyen Dac Tien will pair with former champion Pham Minh Tuan to play in the doubles’ match against Karan Rastogi and Wong Chun Wun. Indian-born Rastogi is an experienced player who has competed with Rafael Nadal in the past.
However, captain Bao may use other options.
Nam and Thien are currently Vietnam’s best pair after they won a Men’s Futures title last year.
Speaking at a press briefing on February 1, Ho Wai Tak David, head of Hong Kong team, said Vietnam were strong, but his players were powerful. His team has lost to Vietnam twice in the past, but this time the two sides are equal in strength, so the team that performs better will win, David said.
Captain Michael Thomas Walker said it would be a different result for Hong Kong compared to the past two years as they have prepared well for the Davis Cup.
The players’ performances were tested at a domestic event in December, he said, adding that he hoped the weather would be fine so that nothing would affect his team’s abilities.
The winner will play the winner in the clash between Pakistan and Iran from April 7 to 9.