DAVISCUP

Sela and Patael celebrate their doubles win. Picture: Israel Tennis Association

Israel have retained their Davis Cup Europe/Africa Group I status after they secured a 3-2 win over Slovenia in Tel Aviv.

The was wrapped up on Saturday after Dudi Sela and Ben Patael won the doubles rubber, beating Grega Zemlja and Aljaz Radinski 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, to set up an unassailable 3-0 lead. Sela and Amir Weintraub both won their singles rubbers on Friday, meaning Sunday’s singles matches were both dead rubbers.

Only finding out he was playing in the doubles hour before the match took place, 18-year-old Patael said: “The captain called me in the morning to tell me I was playing and it took me a few moments to understand what was happening, Dudi took control and helped me calm down.”

Captain Eyal Ran said: “It isn’t easy to play doubles together for the first time, but they both showed what they are capable of. It is a dream to hold a 3-0 lead on Saturday, everyone was so committed and gave their all and that shouldn’t be taken for granted.”

Weintraub won his singles match after a ceremony took place on court to honor the playing career of Andy Ram. Of his performance, Weintraub said: “I would have had no chance without these fans, I began running out of energy in the third set and I wouldn’t have managed to fight back in the fifth without the support.”

Sunday’s matches saw Radinski beat Patael 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, while Nik Razborsek took the fifth and final rubber, awarded a walkover over Weintraub.