Photo: Cecilia AncalmoGuatemala's Ryan Meuller and Ian Amaya upset seventh seeds Nicaragua
There were no problems for favourites Dominican Republic or hosts El Salvador, but Costa Rica and Nicaragua saw their dreams of winning the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas North/Central American & Caribbean Pre-Qualifying event dashed for another year after both fell to surprise defeats on Thursday in La Libertad, El Salvador.
Second-seeded Costa Rica ended up on the wrong end of the shock of the day after losing to sixth seeds Honduras. Cristian Zeron and Andres Argenal gave the underdogs an unassailable 2-0 lead after winning their singles ties in straight sets, before Gonzalo Adis and Eduardo managed a consolation rubber for Costa Rica by edging Zeron and Gabriel Zuniga 63 63 in the doubles.
Seventh seeds Nicaragua, meanwhile, fell in a desperately close encounter with Guatemala, one of the form nations in this year’s Junior Team Competitions, after their opening knockout tie was decided by two tiebreak sets in the doubles rubber. Francisco Bendana, who kept Nicaragua in the tie after defeating Ryan Mueller 36 76(12) 62 in the second rubber, was unable to muster a second heroic act after he and Dineyer Fernandez lost to Meuller and Ian Amaya 76(5) 76(4) in a fiercely contested final rubber.
Top seeds Dominican Republic and third seeds El Salvador joined Honduras and Guatemala in the Play-off semifinals after both enjoyed 3-0 wins, albeit in vastly differing encounters. Dominican Republic was given a rough ride by Panama, requiring three sets in both the second and third rubbers to see off the fourth seeds, while the hosts reached the last four with little fuss, disposing of fifth-seeded Trinidad and Tobago for the loss of just nine games across its three rubbers.
In the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Pre-Qualifying event, top seeds Cuba raced into the Play-off semifinals in just two hours and 40 minutes after Amanda Gomez and Claudia Carrera combined to win all three of their rubbers for the loss of just six games.
Second seeds Dominican Republic and third seeds Guatemala had no such fortune, seeing their qualification dreams ended after suffering 2-1 defeats to fourth seeds El Salvador and Puerto Rico respectively.
Barbados will join Cuba, El Salvador and Puerto Rico in Friday’s semifinals after overturning a 1-0 deficit to defeat Costa Rica. Cherise Slocombe and Kiana Marshall made the difference in the deciding doubles, bettering Eugenia Camacho and Sofia Perez 26 63 60.
The four remaining teams in each of the girls’ and boys’ Under 16 Pre-Qualifying events are bidding for just one spot into the North/Central American & Caribbean Final Qualifying event in Montreal on May 2-4.