Photo: Do-Won KimMaikel Scheffers (NED)
There were no upsets as the top four seeds won their remaining round robin group matches to reach the men’s World Group semifinals on the fourth day of the BNP Paribas World Team Cup. However, on a day when the junior finalists were also decided, it was two of the leading junior players of their respective generations that provided a great deal of excitement at the Olympic Park Tennis Centre in Seoul in the tie between defending men’s champions the Netherlands and Argentina.
World No. 1 Maikel Scheffers took on Japan Open champion and world No. 9 Gustavo Fernandez after Tom Egberink had given the Netherlands the lead after defeating Augustin Ledesma 62 64.
Eighteen-year-old Fernandez, also currently the world No. 1 ranked junior player, threatened to take the tie to a crucial decisive doubles rubber as he put up a determined effort to try and beat Scheffers for the second time in eight days.
However, Scheffers dug deep and eventually claimed a 57 76(6) 76(5) victory to avenge his second round loss to Fernandez at the Japan Open in another thrilling three set match that also included two tiebreaks.
Ronald Vink and Robin Ammerlaan went on to beat Ledesma and Ezequiel Casco 61 63 in the dead doubles rubber to complete a 3-0 win for the Netherlands in Group A and the top seeds will now face 2008 and 2010 champions Sweden in the semifinals.
Sweden, seeded fourth this year, eased to a 3-0 win over Austria in Group D after Peter Vikstrom beat Thomas Mossier 62 64 and world No. 8 Stefan Olsson dominated the second singles rubber to beat Martin Legner 61 61 before Olsson and Vikstrom sped through the doubles rubber without dropping a game.
The other semifinal will see second seeds France take on third seeds Japan.
Nicolas Peifer set France on the way to a 3-0 win over fifth seeds Great Britain after defeating David Phillipson 62 63 and world No. 2 Stephane Houdet gave the 2009 champions an unassailable lead after defeating Gordon Reid 61 62. The doubles rubber proved closer, but ultimately Frederic Cattaneo and Houdet proved too strong for Marc McCarroll and Reid and the French duo prevailed 57 62 64.
The decisive round robin Group C tie brought Japan and USA together in a rematch of the men’s World Group 2 final in 2011 and Jon Rydberg took Japan’s Takashi Sanada to a third set in the opening singles rubber. However, Sanada went on to claim a 64 26 64 victory and former world No.1 Shingo Kuneida maintained Japanese hopes of reclaiming the men’s World Group title after defeating Stephen Welch 61 62.
Yoshinobu Fujimoto and Satoshi Saida teamed up for the doubles rubber and defeated Steve Baldwin and Rydberg 61 63 two wrap up a 3-0 win for Japan.
Overview of Matches - Thursday, 24 May 2012
Men's World Group Draw
Men's World Group 2 Draw
Women's World Group Draw
Quad World Group Draw
Junior World Group Draw