Spain, Young Cup winners 2013
European teams dominated finals day at the Seniors World Team Championships in Turkey, winning eight of the 10 trophies on offer.
Unlike in many recent years, no single nation claimed the majority of the titles with Spain, Netherlands, France, Italy, Great Britain and Belgium all emerging as winners, along with USA in the Maria Esther Bueno (women’s 50) and Maureen Connolly (women’s 55) Cups.
France, who have been big winners in the past few competitions, were involved in no fewer than six finals but emerged victorious in only one, the Dubler Cup (men’s 45). That final featured one of the most topsy-turvy matches of the day when USA’s Mario Tabares took on Frenchman Christophe Delafond in the first rubber.
Delafond raced to a 60 41 lead before Tabares hauled him back to take the second set and lead 41 in the third. Tabares had several match points but Delafond held firm to win in a third set tie-break and put France ahead in front of a capacity centre court crowd. Delafond’s compatriot Lionnel Barthez then sealed the title for France by defeating Jeff Tarango in straight sets.
That was the only high point in what was a day of disappointment for the French teams. The Young (women’s 40), Italia (men’s 35) and Tony Trabert (men’s 40) Cup teams were all hoping to defend the titles they won in San Diego in 2012, but none proved successful.
The Italia and Young Cups both saw France lose the two singles matches against Spain. It was Spain’s first ever victory in the Young Cup, although with former Seniors World Individual Champions Ana Salas and Noelia Perez in the team they were always in with a good chance of victory this time.
The Spanish Italia Cup team won back the trophy they last won in Mexico in 2010 and took revenge on France for last year’s final defeat. In the Tony Trabert Cup, last year’s World Individual Championships runner-up Marcus Hilpert was the key man for Netherlands as he defeated Jacques-Olivier Moers in singles and combined with Bart Beks to beat Moers and Arnaud Magnin in the doubles to give the Dutch team its first ever win in the competition.
The Suzanne Lenglen Cup final was a repeat of last year’s, and the French took an early lead when Nathalie Bourdeau beat Karen Cross. Lucie Ahl won the second singles for Great Britain and then the British pair of Ahl and Julie Hobbs defeated Segolene Berger and Alexia Ferrand in the doubles to retain their title.
The French lost their fifth final of the day in the Maria Esther Bueno Cup, when the USA team led by World Individual Champion Roslyn Nideffer regained the title they had won five times in the last seven years. USA also claimed victory in the Maureen Connolly Cup, with a 2-0 win over Great Britain. The British team had more success in the men’s 55 age category, the team of Paul French, Steve Alger, Alec Allen and Bruce Young defeating USA in a deciding doubles to win their first Austria Cup since the inaugural version in 1977.
The last finals to be completed today were the Fred Perry Cup (men's 50) and the Margaret Court Cup (women's 45). For the second year in a row the Margaret Court Cup went to a first time Cup winner, this time seventh seeds Belgium. Italy won the Fred Perry Cup for the first time with a 2-1 victory over Spain.
See here for full results.
The individual competition begins tomorrow with 700 competitors vying for the title of Seniors World Individual Champion.