Ambulance that was used to take Assri to hospital. (pix from national head coach muliyadi jamal.)

KUALA LUMPUR: Any hopes of securing an immediate return to Group II were dashed after the national team went down 2-0 to Qatar under unfortunate circumstances in their final Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group III match in Colombo, Sri Lanka today.

The opening game saw Perlis-born Koay Hao Sheng going down in three sets 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 4-6 to Jabor Al-Mutawa after which Assri Merzuki took to the court for the second singles against Shanna Mubarak.

Assri, however, was forced to retire from the match due to an ankle injury which saw Qatar securing a straightforward 2-0 win. The Sarawakian was leading 3-2 in the opening set when he was forced to call it quits.

National head coach Muliyadi Jamal was not happy with the condition of the clay courts used for the match.

"It is very sad for our campaign to end this way," said a dejected Muliyadi.

"The court surface was bad, it was dry and cracked in certain places. We lodged a complaint with the tournament referee. It is disappointing.

"Assri had to be rushed to the hospital and we are now waiting for doctor's report. Hopefully it's not that bad as we can't afford to lose our key player for the Sea Games."

Christian Didier Chin was scheduled to take to the court for the doubles with Assri.

The national team, which will remain in Group III next year, would have qualified for the semi-finals had they won against Qatar. Malaysia had defeated Turkmenistan (3-0) and United Arab Emirates (2-1) but went down 2-1 to second seeds Lebanon earlier in the competition.

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