29 Sep 2013

Australia and Russia to meet in the Final

Match Report

By Max Woodward

Photo: Fred MullanePriscilla Hon and Niaktha Bains (AUS) with captain Louise Pleming

Australia and Russia will be the teams to compete for the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas 2013 title in San Luis Potosi, Mexico after both teams won their semifinals on Saturday.

The top four seeded teams were involved in Saturday’s semifinal and top seeds Russia were the first team through to the Final after they defeated fourth-seeded Hungary 2-1. The match was a lot tougher than the scoreline suggests as both rubbers went to deciding third sets.

The first rubber saw both number two players in action as Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova took on Hungarian Fanny Stollar. Neither player had tasted defeat coming into this meeting so there was no surprise when the pair split the first two sets. Kudermetova took the opening set 64 after Stollar double faulted on set point.

Stollar looked fired up at the start of the second set and she broke serve in the opening game. She broke once more at 4-2 before serving the set out 62 and forcing a deciding set. Kudermetova proved too strong in the end and claimed the third set 60 to give Russia a 1-0 lead in the semifinal.

The two top players for the teams clashed in the second rubber as Darya Kasatkina of Russia faced Anna Bondar of Hungary. Bondar got off to a flying start and stormed her way through the first set, taking it 61. Kasatkina found her footing in the second set and levelled the match 1-1 winning the set 62.

The rubber moved into a deciding set and, once again, it was the Russian who proved too strong. It was a much tougher set than the first rubber, but Kasatkina got a crucial break of serve early in the set and Bondar was unable to break back as Kasatkina sent Russia into the Final.

Fanny Stollar teamed up with Rebeka Stolmar in the dead doubles rubber and they defeated Kasatkina and Aleksandra Pospelova 75 61 to ensure Hungary were on the scoreboard in the semifinal.

The other semifinal was a clash between two Grand Slam nations as second seeds Australia took on third seeds USA.

The first rubber saw 14-year-old Michaela Gordon from USA take on Australia Priscilla Hon. Gordon was undefeated in both singles and doubles in the group stages and Hon had won 3 of her 4 matches.

The first set was close but it was Hon who took it, breaking the young American’s serve at 6-5 to claim the set 75. The second set was equally tight, but just a single break advantage once again gave Hon the set 64, and with it, the first point of the semifinal.

The second rubber saw USA’s Katerina Stewart take on Australia’s Naiktha Bains. The first set was a nervy affair and saw five breaks of serve in the opening six games. Three were for the American who moved 4-2 ahead. She then held serve twice to seal the first set 63. The second set went much the same as the first and saw seven breaks of serve in the opening nine games. Once again Stewart was in the lead 5-4 and she then served the match out for a 63 64 victory to level the tie.

That meant that the tie went to a deciding doubles rubber. Stewart teamed up with Kaitlyn McCarthy for the USA and they faced Hon and Bains.  The Australians broke twice to take the opening set 62 and move one set away from the Final.

Stewart and McCarthy broke in the opening game but could not hold the lead for long as Hon and Bains broke back to level the set at 2-2. The crucial game came with Australia leading 4-3 and USA serving.  A 14-point game featuring four deuces was eventually won by the Australians who then served out the tie, sealing a 62 63 victory and booking their place in the Final.

Elsewhere today, Korea, Rep. defeated Bolivia 2-0 in their 13th-16th place play-off, hosts Mexico defeated New Zealand in their 5th-8th place play-off and Colombia defeated Namibia 2-1 in their 13th-16th place play-off.