Photo: Do-Won KimRonald Vink (NED)
Top seeds the Netherlands and second seeds France will meet in Sunday’s men’s World Group final at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, while Thailand and South Africa will go head-to-head in Saturday’s men’s World Group 2 final.
With three finals on Saturday’s penultimate day of play at the Olympic Park Tennis Centre in Seoul, second seeds Great Britain ended the quad title defence of top seeds USA in the semifinals, and will face third seeds Israel in Saturday’s final.
MEN’S WORLD GROUP
The first singles rubber in the semifinal between reigning champions the Netherlands and 2008 and 2010 champions Sweden proved crucial as world No. 3 Ronald Vink edged out Peter Vikstrom 64 75.
Thereafter world No. 1 Maikel Scheffers had much the better of the second singles rubber and went on to beat world No. 8 Stefan Olsson 61 63 to book a place in the final for the Dutch team
With the semifinal already won, Robin Ammerlaan and Tom Egberink took to the court for the Netherlands, but they were unable to complete a whitewash as Beijing Paralympic silver medallists Olsson and Vikstrom brought some consolation when they won the doubles 64 36 (10-6) after a match tiebreak to make the final tie result 2-1.
In the other semifinal Shingo Kunieda and Satoshi Saida, who have steered Japan to two World Team Cup men’s titles since 2003, led the charge to try and secure third seeds a place in another final, and Saida made a confident start when he claimed the first set of the tie against world No. 4 Nicolas Peifer.
However, Peifer regrouped in the second set and took is momentum into the third set to complete a 26 62 62 victory.
With Kunieda playing only his second competition since taking time out with an elbow injury, the four-time ITF World Champion was unable to rescue Japan’s cause on this occasion and world No. 2 Stephane Houdet repeated his win over Kunieda at last week’s Japan Open to take the second singles rubber 64 61.
The doubles rubber matched Athens Paralympic gold medallists Kunieda and Saida against Beijing Paralympic gold medallists Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz and again it was France that came out on top as Houdet and Jeremiasz won 63 61 to complete a 3-0 victory.
The quad semifinals brought a rematch of the 2009 final as second seeds Great Britain, the runners-up in their round-robin group, took on top seeds USA and the tie began much as the 2009 final has as world No. 7 Jamie Burdekin defeated American world No. 5 Nick Taylor 62 61.
The prospect of deciding doubles match was on the cards after world No. 1 David Wagner took the opening set of the second singles rubber from world No. 4 Andrew Lapthorne, but Lapthorne showed dogged determination to cling on to the second set before completing a 46 64 63 victory – only his third over Wagner in their careers. With Great Britain having an unassailable lead, the doubles rubber was not played.
Great Britain will have the chance to avenge Wednesday’s round-robin group loss against third seeds Israel in the final after Boaz Kramer and Noam Gershony sealed Israel’s place in the title decider for the third successive year after a 3-0 win over Japan.
However, with Kramer playing the first singles rubber against Mitsuteru Moroishi instead of world No. 6 Shraga Weinberg, Israel almost found themselves a match down before Kramer dug keep to win a thrilling final set tiebreak for a 06 61 76(5) victory,
In stark comparison Gershony wasted little time in ensuring an Israeli victory as he sped through the second singles rubber against Shota Kawano 60 60 and Kramer and Weinberg, the Beijing Paralympic silver medallists, went on to claim the doubles 62 60.
Antonio Raffaele, Marco Innocenti and Guiseppe Polidori all played their part in Italy’s 3-0 win over South Africa to win the play-off for fifth place, while Adrian Dieleman and Gary Luker steered Canada to seventh place after beating Korea Republic 2-1.
MEN’S WORLD GROUP 2
South Africa and Thailand will contest the men’s World Group 2 final after fifth seeds Thailand defeated eighth seeds Germany in a deciding doubles rubber in the semifinals.
Suthi Khlongrua’s 61 61 victory over Sven Hiller was neutralised as Steffen Sommerfeld won the important points in the second singles rubber to beat Suwitchai Merngprom 64 64. However, the Thai duo edged the first set of the doubles rubber and completed a 75 61 victory over Hiller and Sommerfeld to give Thailand a 2-1 win.
Second seeds South Africa lived up to their billing in their semifinal as Evans Maripa and Sydwell Mathonsi sealed a 3-0 win over seventh seeds Sri Lanka. However, the South African victory was not all one way traffic and Maripa faced a stern challenge in the second singles rubber before dominating the closing stages to beat Upali Rajakaruna 76(8) 57 60.
Overview of Matches - Friday, 25 May 2012
Men's World Group Draw
Men's World Group 2 Draw
Women's World Group Draw
Quad World Group Draw
Junior World Group Draw