Photo: Srdjan StevanovicFilippo Baldi (ITA) during the 2012 Junior Davis Cup Finals
Reigning Junior Davis Cup champion Italy pulled off a narrow come-from-behind victory over 2011 champion Great Britain to progress to the second round of the Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe pre-qualifying event in Trani, Italy.
Italy is one of seven different nations hosting Junior Davis Cup/Fed Cup European pre-qualifying events this week across the Borotra (boys) and Helvetie (girls) cups, the first step for European nations towards a place at the finals of the world’s premier junior boys’ and girls’ team events.
Though Italy has reached the Junior Davis Cup final for the past two years running, the nation endured a real test in its opening pre-qualifying tie in Zone A on Wednesday.
The hosts had to claw their way back from 1-0 down after Jay Clarke gave Great Britain the lead with a 36 64 61 triumph in the opening singles rubber. Andrea Pellegrino levelled the scores for the hosts before combining with Gian Marco Moroni to defeat Joel Cannell and Marcus Walters 76(3) 75 in the deciding doubles and send Italy through to a semifinal tie with second seed Switzerland.
Poland and Norway are the two other Zone A teams bidding to seal one of two spots up for grabs in each zone into next week’s Europe Final qualifying event, with the ultimate aim of a place in the Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, on 24-29 September.
Netherlands, a Junior Davis Cup champion in 2006, also had a narrow escape in the first round of pre-qualifying in Zone D in Ankara, Turkey, after coming from behind to defeat Ukraine 2-1.
In Zone B in St Petersburg, Greece set up a Thursday clash with No. 1 seed Russia after defeating Austria 2-1, while France plays Hungary who, like the hosts, also received a first round bye.
Zone C in Vinaros, Spain, saw Romania set up a tie against top seed Spain while Portugal earned a clash with second seed Serbia.
The Helvetie Cup, the Europe pre-qualifying event for the Junior Fed Cup, saw 2006 champion Belarus and Greece enjoy 3-0 wins over Portugal and Turkey respectively to make strong starts in Zone D, while Spain defeated Ukraine 2-1. Last year’s Junior Fed Cup finalist Russia benefited from a bye on Wednesday and faces Greece in the second round on Thursday.
Hosts and top seeds in Zone B, Great Britain made a solid start to its pre-qualifying campaign in Hatfield after defeating Switzerland 2-1 in the opening round.
Gabriella Patricia Taylor defeated Jessica Bruehwiler 63 60 in the opening singles and, though Sara Orellana evened things up for the Swiss with a 36 63 64 victory over Lana Rush, Taylor and Maia Lumsden sealed the win in the doubles with a 60 63 triumph against Bruehwiler and Orellana. Great Britain will play Bosnia & Herzegovina for a spot in next week’s Final qualifying while Sweden will take on Slovenia on Thursday for the other available spot.
In Zone C, held in Curtea De Arges, Romania, No. 2 seed France and No. 3 seed Romania set up a crunch clash for a qualifying spot after recording 3-0 wins over Moldova and Netherlands respectively. Bulgaria and Hungary, who was handed a first round bye, will compete for the other qualification spot on Thursday.
In Group A in Rakovnik, host nation Czech Republic, Italy and Serbia joined Slovakia, who benefited from a first round bye, in the semifinals in group A after scoring 3-0 opening day wins.
Full results from the European Summer Cups are available here.