Photo: Tony McDonoughGrzegorz Panfil (POL)
Unheralded journeyman Grzegorz Panfil has pulled off the biggest win of his career, overcoming a rankings gap of 277 places to stun world No. 11 Milos Raonic 76(1) 63 to hand Poland a surprise 2-0 victory over Canada.
Agnieszka Radwanska had earlier got the Poles off to an expected, albeit hard-fought, 1-0 lead with a 63 67(7) 62 triumph over Eugenie Bouchard; the pair producing some of the highest quality shotmaking of the tournament to date.
The Canadians managed to salvage a point from the tie with a 63 57 [10-3] win, but the night belonged to Panfil, a player used to plying his trade in far-flung challenger events in the likes of Romania, Cyprus and Turkey.
"I’m really surprised, it was my best match in my career so I’m really happy and back into Australia after six years. I’m really happy to be here, yeah I still can’t believe it," a beaming Panfil said.
On the back of an easy win over Flavia Pennetta on Saturday, Radwanska's testing encounter was the perfect preparation ahead of the Australian Open.
"I think so, yes of course, I think every match is a great practice between playing points and playing a real match. [It] is a great warm-up before Sydney and Melbourne. So I’m very happy I could play another good match and I’m ready for the next one," the world No.5 said.
For Bouchard the disappointment at having fought back to force a decider was obvious.
"I felt like I didn’t really play well in the first so I lost quite a few games in a row so I was happy to try turn that around at least and make it a match, so I got a little tired at the end and she kept her level up," Bouchard said.
The Czech Republic had earlier made a perfect start with world No. 6 Petra Kvitova and veteran Radek Stepanek cruising to easy wins on Sunday.
Kvitova needed just 57 minutes to beat a sore and sorry Anabel Medina Garrigues 61 60, while Stepanek beat world No. 194 Daniel Munoz-De La Nava 62 62.
"I never know how I will feel on the court after this time when I was training hard," Kvitova said.
"I was very tired in the last couple of days so I'm glad that I won."
Stepanek and Kvitova won the mixed doubles 6-3 6-4 to secure the 3-0 tie whitewash.
Session 3: Czech Republic 3-0 Spain
Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 61 60
Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Daniel Munoz de la Nava (ESP) 62 62
Petra Kvitova/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues/Daniel Munoz de la Nava (ESP) 63 64
Session 4: Poland 2-1 Canada
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 63 67(7) 62
Grzegorz Panfil (POL) d. Milos Raonic (CAN) 76(1) 63
Eugenie Bouchard/Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Agnieszka Radwanska/Grzgorz Panfil (POL) 63 57 [10-3]