Davis Cup Asia: Nabhani, Barwani help Oman edge past Singapore
Mohammed al Nabhani (Photo: Muscat Daily)
Mohammed al Nabhani is the most experienced player in Oman's squad for the Davis Cup. That experience came to the fore on Tuesday as the 32 year old, who has featured in 59 ties for the sultanate, led from the front for the second successive day to help Oman edge past Singapore 2-1 at the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group IV in Isa Town, Bahrain.
Oman had begun its campaign in Pool B on Monday with a 3-0 rout of Bangladesh, but faced stiff resistance from Singapore before prevailing.
Playing in the first rubber against Singapore, Nabhani was given a good fight by Hao Yuan NG before claiming the tie 7-5, 6-3.
The match, which lasted nearly two hours, did bring down the energy levels of Oman's No 1 player, and it showed when Nabhani played in the doubles contest along with Younis al Rawahi.
The two and a half hour match for Barwani led Oman's non-playing captain Siddiq al Hashmi to field Rawahi along with Nabhani for the doubles match. Oman's regular doubles team comprises Nabhani and Barwani.
The Singapore pair of Roy Hobbs and Hao Yuan proved too strong for a tired Nabhani and his new partner Rawahi as they raced to a 6-0, 6-3 win in just 48 minutes. The win over Singapore put Oman on top of the Pool B standings with two wins (5-1). Mongolia is close behind in second spot with two victories (4-2).
Into its fourth year in the Davis Cup, Mongolia looks to be the team that may challenge Oman for the top spot in the pool when the teams clash in their concluding match of the round-robin league on Friday.
Before that, Hashmi's men will need to tackle a much higher-ranked team in Iraq in their third tie on Wednesday, followed by a tie against Tajikistan on Thursday.
Oman ranked No 122 Oman is currently placed at No 122 in the Davis Cup rankings as of February 20, 2017, while Iraq is No 106. Singapore is No 107, while Mongolia (124) and Tajikistan (123) are behind Oman. The win over Singapore was the fourth victory for Oman in its last 21 Davis Cup ties.
Oman made its debut in the Davis Cup in 1994 and over the years it has played 110 ties with a 41-66 win-loss record.
It reached its highest level in the competition over a two-year burst in 2008 and 2009 when it played in the Asia/Oceania Group II.
From 2010 to 2013, it played in Group III, but was then relegated to Group IV at the conclusion of the Group III Asia/Oceania in Dubai, UAE where Oman finished last in the eight-team standings.
Since 2014, it has been unable to get past the Group IV stage.
The winner of Pool A will play off against the runner-up in Pool B and the winner of Pool B will play off against the runner-up in Pool A to determine which two nations will be promoted to Asia/Oceania Zone Group III in 2018.
Pool A comprises Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Bahrain and Kyrgyzstan. Cambodia is the highest-ranked team in action in Bahrain with a ranking of No 101, followed by Iraq.