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27 March 2014

Three players to join Commitment Award club


Photo: Takeo TanumaAlejandro Falla (COL)

Benjamin Balleret, Alejandro Falla and Rik de Voest will become eligible for a Davis Cup Commitment Award if they take to the court in the next round on 4-6 April.

The three players have all been nominated to contest their 20th Davis Cup home or away tie making them eligible to join the elite club of 317 players who have already met the criteria to win a Commitment Award.

Here’s a rundown on the three newest members:

Benjamin BalleretBenjamin Balleret (MON)

Monaco’s Benjamin Balleret is following in the footsteps of his father, Bernard, by becoming just the third Monegasque to be eligible for a Davis Cup Commitment Award.

Bernard Balleret and Guillaume Couillard currently hold the distinction of being the only men from Monaco to have met the criteria for the gong but Benjamin Balleret, who made his Davis Cup debut in 2004 when he contested a Europe/Africa Zone Group III event in Lithuania, will soon join the club.

Monaco earned promotion to Zone Group II that year and so began Balleret’s Davis Cup career. He has played every year since making his debut and holds a total win-loss record of 32-21 (27-18 in singles; 5-3 in doubles).

Balleret has played 29 ties but becomes eligible for a Commitment Award because he will be contesting his 20th home or away tie on 4-6 April.

His country needs him to be at his best against Norway in order to maintain its status in Zone Group II. It is the third time that Balleret has played the Norwegians and he will be hoping to replicate the 5-0 victory that occurred last time round.

Alejandro FallaAlejandro Falla (COL)

Colombia’s Alejandro Falla has a long association with Davis Cup, having made his debut 13 years ago in an Americas Zone Group II first round tie against Uruguay.

Partnering Pablo Gonzalez, he lost the doubles rubber against Federico Dondo and Marcelo Filippini but has gone on to amass a solid win-loss record of 30-14 (21-8 in singles; 9-6 in doubles).

Lefthander Falla has been instrumental in Colombia’s steady improvement and has contested two World Group play-off ties – against USA in 2010 and Japan in 2013 – but has yet to win a rubber at that level.

Colombia takes on Dominican Republic on 4-6 April with victory guaranteeing another shot at the top tier and with a strong quartet of Falla, Santiago Giraldo, Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, it looks like another World Group play-off is in the offing for Mauricio Hadad’s men.

Rik de VoestRik de Voest (RSA)

South Africa’s Rik de Voest will join countrymen Cliff Drysdale, Wayne Ferreira and Frew McMillan in the Davis Cup Commitment Award club when he plays in his hometown of Centurion on 4-6 April.

De Voest made his Davis Cup debut back in 2002 in a Europe/Africa Zone Group II relegation play-off against Hungary. He won the opening rubber against Gergely Kisgyorgy and South Africa went on to win the tie 3-2.

Playing in his 20th home or away tie, de Voest holds a win-loss record of 26-18 (17-15 in singles; 9-3 in doubles) and he will be hoping the combination of home advantage, as well as being presented with his Commitment Award at the same tennis club where he learned his craft, will carry his team to victory against Lithuania.

De Voest has contested three World Group play-offs but his team currently finds itself in Zone Group II after being relegated by Slovenia last September.

Victory for South Africa on 4-6 April would put them in a promotion play-off against either Finland or Bosnia/Herzegovina, with a place back in Zone Group II up for grabs.

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Related ties

NOR Flag Norway v Monaco MON Flag 4 Apr 2014 - 6 Apr 2014 View details

COL Flag Colombia v Dominican Republic DOM Flag 4 Apr 2014 - 6 Apr 2014 View details

RSA Flag South Africa v Lithuania LTU Flag 4 Apr 2014 - 6 Apr 2014 View details

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