• Davis Cup

GB draw Croatia in Davis Cup play-offs

ESPN staff
April 10, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
James Ward was hospitalised following his Davis Cup efforts for Great Britain against Russia © Getty Images
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Great Britain will face Croatia in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs as they bid for a return to the elite 16-team top tier of the competition for the first time since 2008.

In the absence of world No. 2 Andy Murray, Leon Smith's squad pulled off an unlikely comeback to beat Russia 3-2 in their Europe-Africa Zone Group I play-off, the first time GB had recovered from 2-0 down to win 3-2 since 1930.

Such was the intensity of the tie, British No. 2 James Ward was placed on a drip on Monday after winning his second singles tie against Dmitry Tursunov in five sets to draw GB level, before Dan Evans clinched victory in the fifth rubber against Evgeny Donskoy.

Their reward is a trip to face 2005 champions Croatia, who lost their World Group opener against Italy - and the squad will be boosted by the return of Murray, who has already committed to play his first tie in two years.

Great Britain have an indifferent record in the World Group play-offs, winning eight of their 18 previous clashes, while Croatia, members of the top tier for 11 of the past 12 seasons, have won four of their past five play-offs.

Elsewhere, five-time champions Spain will host Ukraine in a bid to stay in the World Group after their shock 3-2 defeat by Canada, while Germany will take on Brazil and Switzerland will play host to Ecuador.

Australia face the longest trek to an away match when they take on Poland, while Austria face a far shorter trip to Netherlands. Belgium will host Israel and Colombia will travel to Japan to complete the draw.

Ties will be played from September 13-15.

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