29 Sep 2013

Russia crowned Junior Fed Cup champion

Match Report

By Max Woodward

Photo: Susan MullaneThe Russian team celebrate winning the Junior Fed Cup

Sunday was a momentous day for Russia as it was crowned Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas champion for the fourth time. Darya Kasatkina, Veronika Kudermetova and Aleksandra Pospelova guided Russia to a 2-0 victory over Australia in the Final.

Kudermetova, Russia’s No. 2 player, ended the tournament unbeaten as she earned the first point for the Eastern Europeans after defeating Priscilla Hon 64 64. Both players started the match well and there was no sign of a break point until the seventh game of the match. Kudermetova took her chance at the first time of asking and broke serve to move 4-3 ahead in the set. Hon was not going to give in easily, however, and broke back in the very next game to level the set.

The next game proved to be pivotal in the set as Kudermetova raced into a 40-0 lead on Hon’s serve. Hon fought back, saving two of the break points but could not save the third and Kudermetova led once again 5-4. There was no break back for Hon this time as Kudermetova converted her third set point, winning it 64 and taking a 1-0 lead.

Hon did not get off to the best of starts in the second set, surrendering two break points and only managing to save one, giving Kudermetova an early advantage. That early break was followed by five holds before a double fault from Hon gave the Russian another break point. Once again she converted, moving 5-2 ahead in the set. Hon instantly broke back once more before holding her own serve and forcing Kudermetova to serve the match out. A few nerves crept into the Russian’s game but she proved too strong in the end and held serve to claim a 64 64 victory and give Russia the first point of the Final.

The second rubber saw Russian No. 1 Darya Kasatkina take on Naiktha Bains of Australia. Kasatkina had lost only one of her singles matches heading into the Final, a shock defeat in her first match of the tournament. Since then, she has been in fine form, only dropping one set in the next four matches. Bains held a 4-3 record in her singles and doubles matches during the tournament heading into the Final.

Bains started the stronger, only dropping one point in her opening two service games while forcing Kasatkina to deuce in the Russian’s first three service games, forcing four break points in the process. However, she could not convert any and was punished shortly after. The Russian attacked the Australian’s serve, moving 40-15 ahead and ruthlessly converted her first break point to move 4-2 ahead in the set. Kasatkina remained one break ahead for the remainder of the set and saved two more break points at 5-3 to take the first set 63.

Kasatkina was much the stronger of the two players in the second set and broke in the third game to move 2-1 up. Bains had a break point of her own in the very next game but once again was unable to convert and Kasatkina consolidated the break. Both players then held before Kasatkina broke once more to move 5-2 ahead in the second set and put Russia just one game away from the title.

A few nerves appeared and she went 15-30 down. She responded well to take the next three points and claim a 63 62 victory and with it, the title of Junior Fed Cup champions. As the title was already decided, the dead doubles rubber was not played.

USA claimed third place after they defeated Hungary 2-0. Kaitlyn McCarthy defeated Fanny Stollar in the opening match 62 36 61 to get USA off to an excellent start. McCarthy broke twice in the opening five games before holding serve in a 12-point game to move 5-1 ahead before serving the opening set out 62. The two players exchanged breaks at the start of the second set but Stollar claimed the crucial second break of serve late in the set before holding serve to take the set 63 and level the match.

In the final set, Stollar broke in the first game to move ahead in the match for the first time since the opening game of the first set. However, things quickly worsened for the Hungarian as she failed to win another game in the set, losing 62 36 61.

Katerina Stewart then took on Anna Bondar knowing that if she could win, she would seal third place. She did just that, winning 64 61. Stewart finished with a 4-1 record for the tournament and USA claimed the bronze medal. The American broke serve in the opening game to set the theme for the match. She broke once more in the set before serving it out 64. The American No. 1 then broke the Hungarian’s serve three times in the second set to win 64 61 and seal third place for the Americans.

The final standings at the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals are as follows:

1) Russia [1]
2) Australia [2]
3) USA [3]
4) Hungary [4]
5) Brazil [8]
6) Mexico
7) Slovenia
8) New Zealand
9) Czech Republic [5]
10) France [6]
11) Slovak Republic
12) Egypt [7]
13) Korea, Republic
14) Colombia
15) Bolivia
16) Namibia