SANTIAGO – Chile will rely on No. 1 player Nicolas Jarry to lead the way in both singles and doubles when it takes on Ecuador in a Davis Cup Americas Zone Group 1 tie starting Friday.
The 1.98-meter (6-foot-6) Jarry, the world No. 95, will take on 597th-ranked Ecuadorian Ivan Endara in Friday’s opening match on clay at Court Central Anita Lizana in Santiago.
Shortly afterward, 405th-ranked Chilean Gonzalo Lama and Ecuador’s top player, the 281st-ranked Roberto Quiroz, will square off in the second rubber.
In Saturday’s doubles, Jarry will team with Hans Podlipnik against Quiroz and Diego Hidalgo.
The tie will be played under a new format (which only applies to Zone Groups I and II, not the top-tier World Group) in which the reverse singles also will be played on Saturday rather than Sunday, a move that makes this first-round clash a two-day event.
Jarry and Quiroz are scheduled to play the fourth match of the tie, while Lama and Endara have been penciled in to contest a potential fifth and deciding rubber.
But if one team has an insurmountable 3-0 advantage after the doubles, the remaining two singles matches will be canceled.
Although Chile has by far the highest-ranked player in Jarry, Chilean captain Nicolas Massu dismissed suggestions that his team is the clear favorite.
The whole idea of favorites “ends when you walk on court,” Massu said, reiterating that his goal is to secure a spot for his squad in the World Group.
“I think we have a young team that’s very eager and, like I said before, we started off four years ago as a very young team and today we’re one of the strongest line-ups in Group I,” the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in men’s singles and men’s doubles said.
Ecuador’s captain, Raul Viver, said for his part that his team’s focus is on “going out to win all the matches.”
The winner of this Americas Zone Group I first-round tie will square off in April against 2016 Davis Cup champion Argentina, which went from king of the World Group to a spot in the Americas Zone due to losses to Italy and Kazakhstan last season.