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Harshana Godamanna playing a forehand return | (Pic by Ravindra Dharmathilaka)

Sri Lanka took a comfortable 2-nil lead over Palestine in a ‘must win’ Davis Cup by PNB Paribas group II tennis tie that began at the SLTA clay courts Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha yesterday 17th July.

Sri Lanka has beaten Palestine in their previous confrontations also and this tie should see the host team emerging on top. Judging by the manner in which the first two singles finished it is clear that Sri Lanka can wrap it up easily.

Sri Lanka is coming into this tie after having lost to the Philippines in a tough battle in Manila in March. While the Lebanese lost to Chinese Taipei to reach this stage to play in this crucial tie.

Sharmal Dissanayake took on Jad Ballout in the first single and Dissanayake did not appear to have any difficulty in winning through.

The student from Royal College and a vastly improved Dissanayake played with consistency and purpose to place his shots very accurately. This forced his opponent to make unforced errors and lose points. In fact the heat was too much for Ballout to handle though he is also from a hot country. He felt sick and was forced to retire after having vomited during the third set after Dissanayake had already clinched the first two sets.
The second single saw Sri Lanka’s top player Harshana Godamanna going through some rough times against the second rated player from Lebanon Hady Habib who played some fine ground strokes to earn some vital points.

Godamanna somehow won the first set on 7/5, but the next two sets too was won on 6/3, 6/3 in a closely fought out match.

If Sri Lanka can win the doubles match today then they are assured of staying in group II for one more year. Godamanna and Dissanayake will pair off in the doubles match.