Argentina beat the higher seeded team from USA as the men’s World Group got underway on the second day of the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Antalya, Turkey.
Steve Baldwin put USA ahead after beating Jose Castricini 62 61, but Gustavo Fernandez, who came into this week’s event ranked No. 3 in the world, dominated the second singles rubber against former world No. 1 Steve Welch, also a former World Team Cup winner with USA, to level the tie after a 63 60 victory.
Fernandez went on to be the dominant player in the deciding doubles rubber as he and Oscar Diaz beat Baldwin and Welch 63 61 to complete the victory for Argentina, the 11th seeded nation coming into the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, over 8th seed USA.
“It was a really big win. We came here without our best team, as some players are injured, but we came here with a lot of history and we fought a lot and we won,” said Fernandez, who will now hope to inspire Argentina to another win over third seed Japan. “We played together three years ago when I started to play in the men’s team, so we know each other and we played a really good match.”
Two-time champion Sweden joined Austria and Poland in also posting early wins.
Stefan Olsson and Peter Vikstrom orchestrated Sweden’s second World Team Cup victory in Antalya in 2010 and both players dropped just three games apiece in their respective singles rubbers against Sang-Ho Oh and Sam-Ju Kim as Sweden recorded a 3-0 win over Korea Republic, with the London 2012 men’s doubles gold medallists pairing up to complete the win.
“It went well. All of us played perfect tennis and we are glad to be back here,” said Olsson. “This is such an amazing tournament for us. Last time we were here we won and I hope we can do it again. I love the courts. Great Britain, our next opponent, is going to be a very tough team to beat.”
The longest match of the day in the men’s World Group saw Martin Legner beat Evans Maripa to ensure Austria’s victory over South Africa.
After Thomas Mossier had given Austria the lead, Legner, one of the most experienced of all World Team Cup players, met Maripa for just the second time and was taken to three sets before finally sealing a 67(6) 62 61 win after dropping just the fourth game of the final set. Top seed Netherlands, drawn in Group A along with Austria and South Africa, opens its campaign on the third day of play.
Meanwhile, former finalist Poland beat last year’s World Group II champion Thailand 2-1 in round-robin Group B after Piotr Jaroszewski beat Suwitchai Merngprom 63 64 and Tadeusz Kruszelnicki held off a tremendous effort from Sumrerng Kruamai to prevail 46 62 64. Defending champion France is the other nation in Group B.
Top seeds make comfortable starts in women’s World Group
All four seeds made confident starts to their campaigns in the women’s World Group, with Netherlands opening up its bid for a 26th World Team Cup title by defeating USA 3-0.
With Netherlands arriving in Antalya with two of the world’s top three ranked players, Jiske Grffioen dominated the second set of the opening singles rubber against Kaitlyn Verfuerth to record a 64 61 win, while world No. 1 Aniek van Koot put the tie beyond the reach of USA after beating Emmy Kaiser 62 62. Netherlands now takes on Thailand in Goup A, the winner advancing to the semifinals.
Antalya is the place where Sabine Ellerbrock made her World Team Cup debut in 2010 and three years later the German player returned to Turkey as the world No. 2 ranked women’s player.
Ellerbrock and Katharina Kruger eased to straight set wins over the host nation’s Busra Un and Julide Yildiz respectively, dropping a total of just four games between them in their singles rubbers as Germany began its attempt to reach its second World Team Cup final in three years with a 3-0 win.
“We had quite a lot of support from German tourists here in Antalya, which was nice,” said Kruger. “It was quite difficult with the wind, but it was a good day. We have Korea next, so I just hope to play some good tennis and see what comes out.”
There was another 3-0 win for third seed Great Britain over Chile in Group C, as Jordanne Whiley beat Macarena Cabrillana 62 75, while world No. 5 Lucy Shuker gave Great Britain an unassailable lead with a 62 64 win over Francisca Mardones. Great Britain goes head-to-head with Spain to earn the chance to progress.
With last year’s runners-up Japan and South Africa both with a win apiece in Group D, they will now meet for the right to play in the last four.
World Group II top seeds ease to early success
All four top seeded nations in men’s World Group II eased to victories in their respective opening group ties.
Australia starts World Group II as top seed for the second successive year and last year’s fifth placed team were in fine form against Croatia, with Adam Kellerman and Ben Weekes dropping just five games throughout their two singles rubbers, while Keegan Oh-Chee partnered Weekes to win the doubles without dropping a single game as Australia completed a 3-0 win.
Australia now plays Sri Lanka, the bronze medallist in World Group II in 2012, to decide which nation progresses from Group A to the semifinals.
Fourth seed Belgium began its bid to earn promotion straight back to the men’s World Group when Joachim Gerard and Mike Denayer, who previously won back-to-back junior World Team Cup titles for Belgium in 2005 and 2006, combined to complete a 3-0 win over Nigeria that began with Gert Vos defeating Jude Uwazie 64 62.
Belgium will face Spain, the other country relegated from the men’s World Group last year, for a place in this year’s World Group II semifinals.
Steffen Sommerfeld and Sven Hiller also won both singles rubbers in straight sets in Germany’s 2-1 win over Israel, which ended with an exciting doubles that Israel’s Adam Berdichevsky and Asaaf Stokol won 57 64 (10-4). With Germany and Italy having both beaten Israel 2-1, they will now meet each other in a contest that will determine which goes through to the last four.
Second seed Canada opened its bid this year with a 3-0 win over host nation Turkey, with Philippe Bedard and Jole Dembe both dropping just two games apiece in their singles rubbers. Canada faces a crucial contest with Greece now, with a semifinal berth at stake.