29 Sep 2013

Spain claims Junior Davis Cup title

Match Report

By Max Woodward

Photo: Susan MullaneThe Spanish team celebrate winning the Junior Davis Cup

Spain lifted the Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas trophy on Sunday for the fifth time when they defeated Korea, Republic 2-1 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Spain got off to an excellent start when Pedro Martinez Portero defeated Kukeon Kang 76(6) 63. The Spaniard started slowly, however, and Kang broke in the opening game which lasted for 12 points.

Martinez Portero broke back in the fourth game of the match to level the set before moving ahead with another break in the eighth. The lead did not last long as Kang broke back in the very next game. The set progressed into a tiebreak and the Spaniard had the first chance to close the set out when he moved into a 6-4 lead. Kang saved both set points but there was no stopping Portero who won the next two points to take the first set 76(6).

The second set started with two holds of serve, but they were followed by five breaks. That run was eventually halted by the Spanish No. 2 who held serve for a 5-3 lead. He closed the set out by comfortably breaking the Korean to seal a 76(6) 63 victory.

The second match saw Spain’s No.1, Jaume Antoni Munar Clar, undefeated coming into the Final, take on top Korean Seongchan Hong, who had lost only one match before the final in which he was injured. The Korean showed no signs of that injury which he had picked up in the semifinal the day before, as he raced into a one-set lead, breaking the nervous Spaniard’s serve twice in the opening set to take it 61.

Munar Clar calmed down after the first set and settled into his task in the second. He broke serve in the fourth game of the set, after coming through a tough hold the game before, which proved to be the only break of serve in the set as both players produced an excellent display of serving. The set went to Munar Clar 63 which forced a decider.

Two long holds in games four and five included the Korean saving a break point and that would prove crucial as he broke in game six of the deciding set to move 4-2 ahead. The break disheartened the Spanish No. 1 and he was powerless to stop Hong taking the set 62 and forcing a deciding doubles rubber.

Spain’s two singles players teamed up for the doubles as they took on Kang and Yun Seong Chung. The first set saw four breaks of serve in the opening six games as the advantage switched from one team to the other. The Spanish pair claimed the crucial third break of serve in the set and went on to win it 63 and move just one set away from the title.

The trophy looked to be heading to Spain as they broke twice to start the second set and raced into a 4-0 lead. The Koreans were not going to give in that easily, however, and won the next five games of the set to take the lead 5-4. Spain produced a vital hold of serve to stop the run of games and then broke serve to move 6-5 ahead. That left them with the opportunity to serve for the title. Things didn’t start well as Munar Clar double faulted on the opening point of the game. The young Spaniard recovered well though and he and Martinez Portero won the next four points to seal a Spanish victory.

The battle for third place was fought between Germany and Australia. The opening match saw Tim Sandkaulen of Germany take on Oliver Anderson of Australia. Anderson started much the stronger of the two and raced into a 3-0 lead in the first set. Sandkaulen fought back but was unable to recover the break of serve as Anderson took the set 63. The second set didn’t see a single break of serve until the twelfth game. Anderson moved 40-0 up in an attempt to force a tiebreak but could not serve the game out as the German fought back and broke serve to take the set 75 and level the match at 1-1.

Anderson was the stronger player in the deciding set and broke serve twice before holding serve for a 63 57 62 victory which gave Australia a 1-0 lead in the tie.

The second match saw two of the top players in this year’s Junior Davis Cup go head-to-head as Alexander Zverev took on Marc Polmans. Zverev had one loss heading into the match whereas Polmans was undefeated. Polmans took an exciting opening set 63, but the spectacle was cut short when Zverev was forced to retire at 0-1 in the second set, much to the crowd’s disappointment.

The final standings for the Junior Davis Cup are as follows:

1) Spain [7]
2) Korea, Rep. [2]
3) Australia [6]
4) Germany [3]
5) Russia [1]
6) USA [4]
7) Japan [5]
8) France
9) Norway
10) South Africa
11) India
12) Bolivia
13) Argentina
14) Peru [8]
15) Netherlands
16) Mexico