Egypt moved a step closer to guaranteeing its participation in both the World Junior Tennis Finals and the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals after its Under 14 and Under 16 teams extended their leads at the top of their groups at Thursday’s Africa Qualifying in Tunis.
One of the favourites to qualify again this year after coming through qualifying last year to finish 9th in the 2012 Junior Fed Cup Finals, Egypt earned its third straight win after defeating Morocco, albeit after dropping its first set of this year’s event.
Hana Mortagy and Sandra Samir, the highest ranked player in the qualifying event at No. 54, both won their singles ties against Morocco’s Lamia Aziz and Zainab El Houari in straight sets, before Montagy and Habiba Lasheen sealed a 3-0 triumph for Egypt by defeating the Moroccan pair over two hours and five minutes in a hard fought three-set doubles clash.
Namibia kept the pressure on the group leaders in 2nd place in the Junior Fed Cup event after scoring a come-from-behind win over hosts Tunisia to remain on level points with Egypt, while Morocco’s defeat sees them facing a must-win clash with Namibia on Friday in order to keep its qualification hopes alive.
Egypt also maintained its undefeated record in the World Junior Tennis event despite losing its first rubber of this year’s qualifying. Zani Barnard gave South Africa an early lead after winning a marathon contest against Nermeen Shawky 63 67(3) 62 over two hours and 55 minutes, before Laila Elnimr ousted Lee Barnard 60 62 before teaming with Shawky to defeat the South African twins 63 62 in the deciding doubles.
The defeat sees South Africa slip to 3rd place, outside the qualification spots for the World Junior Tennis Finals in Prostejov on 5-10 August, but they know a win over Tunisia on Friday could be enough to seal their spot as 2nd placed Madagascar faces a tough bout against group leaders Egypt.
Meanwhile in the boys Under 16s event, hosts Tunisia set up a clash with South Africa for a place at the Junior Davis Cup Finals in San Luis Potosi, Mexico on 24-29 September after following South Africa’s lead by recording a 2-1 win over Morocco. Just one team qualifies from the three-nation play-off, with South Africa the marginal favourites going into Friday’s bout having dropped one less set against Morocco.
Host nation Tunisia continued to produce its best form in the boys World Junior Tennis event, winning both of its singles ties to dent South Africa’s hopes of qualifying for Prostejov. The result means that the hosts will seal the lone qualification spot on Friday if they defeat Egypt, who lies bottom of the group after losing both of its opening two matches.
To keep up to date with this week’s results, click here.