FOLLOW THE LIVE SCORES
19:02 And here is the final article of the day wrapping up all the action from the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona
Rounding out the round-robin
By Sandra Harwitt
The matches are done at the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Finals by BNP Paribas for Thursday and the players all quickly left the premises of the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona to get ready for the official player party this evening.
Thursday all signifies the final day of three in which the format play was round-robin with the 16 countries in each competition broken up into four groups.
18:10 Tennis is all in the family (audio interview at the bottom)
The Brazilian girls, seeded third, pulled off two victories in three days in Group B round-robin action at the the Junior Fed Cup in Barcelona.
On the opening day they beat Japan 3-0, but on Wednesday fell to Belarus 2-1. They closed out the round-robin on Thursday with a 2-1 win over Italy.
Following the conclusion of their 62 61 doubles win, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Carolina Meligeni Alves stopped to talk with me. They claimed their English wasn’t strong, but it was excellent, far better than my non-existent Portuguese.
Both girls learned the game from their parents, who just happen to be teaching pros.
Meligeni Alves, however, has a family bonus. Her uncle, Fernando Meligeni, was once ranked No. 25 in the world and won three singles and seven doubles title on the men’s tour. Meligeni Alves works with her uncle’s former coach, Enrique Perez, in Uruguay, but keeps a constant conversation going with her uncle, too.
15:49 Early Finishers
The boys’ win the prize of finishing Thursday’s play first of the day with four nations already back in the locker room .
Japan finished their three matches against Brazil for a 2-1 win for the day.
Spain, the host nation, also completed their three matches for a 3-0 win over Morocco.
They’re the only countries who were able to relax and await their placement in the knock-out portion of the competition that starts on Friday.
14:49 The Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup photo gallery has been updated with photos from today's ties and yesterday's Forum. Check it out here!
14:36 Check out the latest video featuring the Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup players in Barcelona!
13:32 Junior Fed Cup
No one would ever accuse the Paraguayan Junior Fed Cup squad for lacking team spirit.
Playing for a spot in the coveted semifinals in this prestigious event, Sara Giminez was responsible for winning the first match of the day over Constanza Gorches of Mexico.
The match was into the third set and there was barely a place around the tennis courts at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona that one wouldn’t hear Camila Giangreco, the No. 1 player for the Paraguayan team, and Gabriela Ferriera, the third member of the squad, rooting for Giminez. After every point Giminez won, her two teammates would shout encouragement to her in Spanish, leaving Gorchez to try to fight all three of them.
“I’ll be nervous,” Giangreco told me about playing the second match while watching Giminez put the finishing touches on her 57 75 62 win.
The excitement even drew the attention of USA captain Kathy Rinaldi, who walked over from an adjacent court. “I had to come see what all the excitement is,” said Rinaldi, while action on her court was paused while Russian Elizaveta Kulichkova took a bathroom break. “It’s tough to play when you’re next door and your trying to watch what’s going on over there. But I love it when it gets down to the wire.”
The Paraguayan girls were all hugging as they moved one match closer to the possibility of being semifinalists. And then Giangreco looked over to me and smiled, “I feel good.”
12:51 Palina Duvavets speaks about being asked for autographs and other new experiences at the Junior Fed Cup in the audio that you can find at the bottom of this article.
12:37 The Educational Forum took place yesterday as part of the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup program.
Teaching more than just tennis
by Sandra Harwitt
Sometimes the tennis rackets need to be put down to discuss the practicalities of life as a junior and pro tennis player.
The ITF takes the education of a tennis player as seriously as they do their forehands and backhands. In that vein, they occasionally put on an Educational Forum at one of their junior events.
11:07 Here is a preview of the third day of Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup action at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona.
Taking in Thursday’s action
It’s the third and final day of the round-robin action which often presents the most intriguing matches of this portion of the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Finals by BNP Paribas.
In boys’ action it could be a tough day for third seeds Australia when they come up against sixth seeds Argentina. There is no denying that the Argentines have clay court tennis down to a science whereas the Australians tend to feel like strangers in a strange land on the surface.
Second seeds Italy have a meeting with eighth seeds Sweden that will pit two of the teams faring well to battle each other.
Fourth seeds France appear to be particularly strong, not only winning all of their matches, but winning them very quickly. The French have raced through their rounds so quickly that other teams were practically just starting their second singles match when they were done playing for the day.
In girls’ action, the USA appears to be the most solid team in the competition. While Taylor Townsend, the No. 1 junior girl in the rankings, has had some shaky moments, the 16-year-old’s managed to come through unscathed. Townsend, at times, can get off to a slow start and then have to fight to recover -- it’s something to work on, but knowing how to get out of trouble is a necessary skill.
Russia, the second seeds, are also showing great skill in the Fed Cup round-robin, having won all of their matches. Elizaveta Kulichkova, who has a combined ranking of No. 7, came through her match against China’s Kang Jia-Qi with ease on Wednesday, but struggled in two tough sets against Antonia Lottner of Germany on the first day of play.
Round Robin Groups
(click on the group for standings and results)
Junior Fed Cup
GROUP A: (1) USA, Spain, Korea and (7) Egypt
GROUP B: (3) Brazil, Japan, Belarus and (5) Italy
GROUP C: (4) Latvia, Mexico, Paraguay and (6) Australia
GROUP D: (2) Russia, Germany, South Africa and (8) China
Junior Davis Cup
GROUP A: (1) USA, Brazil, Japan and (7) Russia
GROUP B: (3) Australia, Morocco, Spain and (6) Argentina
GROUP C: (4) France, Mexico, Peru and (5) Korea
GROUP D: (2) Italy, Egypt, China and (8) Sweden