Photo: Mathilde DusolYui Kamiji (JPN)
Netherlands will play Japan in a repeat of last year’s women’s World Group final at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup after both nations joined Germany and Great Britain in this year’s semifinals on the third day of play.
Top seed Netherlands duly finished top of round-robin Group A after Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot secured straight sets wins over Thailand, with world No. 1 van Koot giving the Dutch an unassailable lead after beating former world No. 6 Sakhorn Khanthasit 64 61.
Yui Kamiiji provided the only minor upset in any of the singles rubbers in the women’s World Group as the former world No. 1 junior and current women’s world No. 11 powered past world No. 7 Kgothatso Montjane 61 63, much to her delight, to seal fourth seed Japan’s 3-0 win over South Africa in Group D. Japan also played Netherlands in the final in Antalya in 2010.
Germany and Great Britain will also meet in the latter stages of the BNP Paribas World Team Cup for the second successive year after Sabine Ellerbrock and Katharina Kruger both secured 61 61 wins in their singles rubbers against Korea Republic to ensure that second seed Germany finished top of Group B after another 3-0 victory.
World No. 5 Lucy Shuker beat Elena Jacinto 63 62 to seal the second part of Great Britain’s 3-0 win over Spain and Great Britain and Germany will both now bid to reach the women’s final at the World Team Cup for just the second time apiece.
This year’s semifinal line-up features the three nations that have finished runners-up to 25-time champion Netherlands in the last four years.
Italy and Greece excel in World Group II
Sixth seed Italy and Greece, the ninth ranked of the 12 teams in men’s World Group II at the start of the week, both caused upsets in their final round-robin ties to reach the World Group II semifinals.
Fabian Mazzei kept Italy in the its final Group C tie against third seed Germany after winning the second singles rubber and then combined with Luca Spano to edge to a thrilling victory in a match tiebreak in the deciding doubles rubber. Mazzei and Spano took Italy through to the last four 64 26 (11-9), with Greece the next opponent as Italy tries to reach the World Group II final for the second time since 2005.
Greece ended the hopes of second seed Canada 3-0 as Georgios Lazaridis snatched an important 57 63 63 win over Joel Dembe in the second singles rubber. Greece is now set to earn it highest World Team Cup finish, having never achieved better than eighth in World Group II in six previous World Team Cups.
Top seed Australia continued its bid to earn a return to the men’s World Group when Adam Kellerman and Ben Weeks won both their singles rubbers against Sri Lanka in straight sets and then combined to beat Gamini Dissanayake and Upali Rajakaruna 62 62 in the doubles to round off a 3-0 victory.
“We’re very happy, the team’s been performing really well and we’re hitting the ball the way we want to,” said Kellerman. “We’re feeling very confident heading into the semifinals.”
The closest finish of the third day in men’s World Group II came between fourth seed Belgium and Spain. Spain’s Martin Varela and Belgium’s Joachim Gerard dominated their respective singles rubbers before Mike Denayer joined Gerard to edge out Alvaro Illobre and Varela 46 61 (10-7) in a match tiebreak and claim the top spot in Group D.
Top seeds ease to early wins in men’s World Group
The top four seeded nations got their men’s World Group challenges underway on the third day of play in Antalya, as Netherlands, France, Japan and Great Britain all posted 3-0 wins over their respective opposition.
Top seed Netherlands, the runner-up to Sweden in Antalya in 2010, eased past South Africa 3-0 after Ronald Vink beat Leon Els 61 62 and Maikel Scheffers eased past Evans Maripa 60 61 in the two singles rubbers.
Takashi Sanada and world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda both dropped just three games in their respective singles rubbers against Steve Baldwin and Steve Welch as third seed Japan beat USA 3-0.
Defending champion and second seed France arguably had the toughest opening contest again last year’s World Group II champion Thailand as Suwitchai Merngprom provided a significant challenge to Frederic Cattaneo in the first singles rubber. However, Cattaneo sealed a 63 63 before world No. 2 Stephane Houdet eased through the second singles.
Marc McCarroll and world No. 6 Gordon Reid also eased to straight sets wins over Korea Republic’s Ji-Hwan Lee and Sam-Ju Kim to start Great Britain’s bid to reach the semifinals for the first time since Antalya last hosted the World Team Cup in 2010.