26 Sep 2013

Clean sweeps aplenty in San Luis Potosi

Match Report

By Max Woodward

Photo: Susan MullaneStefan Kozlov (USA)

After two days of play - that’s 16 ties in total - in this year’s Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, we have had 15 3-0 victories.

Wednesday saw the first Davis Cup tie to feature split sets when Japan defeated Norway 2-1.

Japan, seeded No. 5 and 3-0 winners over Mexico on Tuesday, were favourites going into their tie with unseeded Norway, and another whitewash appeared to be on the cards when Yusuke Takahashi defeated Casper Ruud 62 61. The second rubber saw Jumpei Yamasaki take on Viktor Durasovic and the Japanese No. 1 took an early lead by securing the first set 63.

Durasovic, who pushed German No. 1 Alexander Zverev on Tuesday, was not prepared to accept defeat and took the second and third sets 64 to give Norway their first point in a Junior Davis Cup Finals. The debutants will have to wait for their first tie victory however, as Takahashi and Yamasaki defeated Durasovic and Ruud in the doubles rubber 64 64 for the 2-1 victory.

USA are now the only team at this year’s Finals not to have dropped a set after they defeated Bolivia 3-0. It was not plain sailing for the Americans though and the Bolivians threatened on a few occasions. USA No. 2 Henrik Wiersholm needed a tiebreak in the second set of his match against Stephan Koenigsfest but came through easily to win 63 76(3).

There were no such problems for America’s top player Stefan Kozlov who defeated Rodrigo Banzer 62 63. The doubles, however, was much closer. There were six breaks of serve in the opening set which went to a tiebreak. The American pair of Wiersholm and Tommy Paul proved too strong for the Bolivian duo of Banzer and Koenigsfest, taking the tiebreak 7-4. The second set was a lot tighter and just a single break decided it as USA won 76(4) 64.

Russia also started the day without having dropped a set, but that ended in the opening singles rubber of their tie with Argentina as Franco Capalbo, Argentina’s No.2, took the opening set of his rubber with Andrey Rublev 64. Rublev stormed through the second set, taking it 61 before clinching the rubber 46 61 64.

The rest of the tie was progressively easier for the Russians from that point. Roman Safiullin, Russia’s No. 1, had little difficulty overcoming Agustin Torreano 61 63 and then in the doubles Safiullin teamed up with Evgeny Tyurnev to face Torreano and Juan Pablo Ficovich. The Russians took the opening set 60 before Ficovich was forced to retire due to stomach problems, handing Russia the win.

France recovered from their 3-0 loss at the hands of Japan on the opening day to defeat South Africa by the same scoreline in one of the quickest ties on Wednesday. Mandresy Rakotomalala set the French off to a flying start when he defeated Brandon Laubser 60 60. Theo Fournerie, the French No. 1, sealed the tie for the Europeans when he defeated Lloyd Harris 63 63.

Rakotomalala then partnered 14-year-old Corentin Moutet, who was one of the top players at the 14-and-under World Junior Tennis Finals in August. The two players teamed up yesterday and were unlucky to lose in two tiebreak sets. There was nothing unlucky about their performance on Wednesday, however, as they defeated Harris and Francois Kellerman 63 64.

Also in Junior Davis Cup play on Wednesday, Spain defeated India, Germany overcame Mexico, Australia proved too strong for Netherlands, and Korea, Rep. defeated Peru, all by 3-0 scorelines.

The ties for the final day of round-robin action on Thursday are as follows:

Group A
Russia [1] v Spain [7]
Argentina v India

Group B
Germany [3] v Japan [5]
Mexico v Norway

Group C
USA [4] v Australia [6]
Bolivia v Netherlands

Group D
Korea, Rep. [2] v South Africa
Peri [8] v France