Photo: Susan MullaneFabian Fallert (GER)
If you’re a tennis fan you must have heard this old saying a time or two: The match was a lot harder than the score indicates.
Well, that is exactly the message to be taken from the opening day of action in the 2013 Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals. Yes, it’s true that all eight ties on Tuesday ended with one team taking a perfect 3-0 victory. But be aware that most of those ties were hotly contested battles and not representative of an easy day.
The top-seeded Russians and fourth-seeded USA were the only teams to get through the day without dropping a set. Russia’s Andrey Rublev, Roman Safiullin and Evgeny Tyurnev never lost more than three games in the six sets played against India. The USA’s No. 1, Stefan Kozlov, was taken to a first set tiebreak by Dutchman Tim van Rijthoven, but won all seven points in that tiebreak, and booked the second set 6-4. In the first match, Henrik Wiersholm of USA never allowed Casper Bonapart on the scoreboard in his impressive 60 60 win. And Tommy Paul and Wiersholm took a 62 63 win over Joris Bodin and van Rijthoven.
The toughest tie of the day had to be between eighth seeded Peru and South Africa, which ended up with the South Africans posting the upset. In the opening match, Brandon Laubser defeated Guillermo Cabrera 36 76(3) 63. In the second match, Lloyd Harris struggled for his 67(4) 63 76(6) win over Juan Jose Rosas. The doubles went easier with Harris and Francois Kellerman taking a 62 61 win over Diego Muniz and Rosas.
In another intriguing matchup, third-seeded Germany was handed a fight by Norway, making their debut in Junior Davis Cup this year. Both teams boast a player with strong family ties to the game.
Alexander Zverev of Germany is the No. 2 ranked junior in the world. He’s following a passion for tennis that his father, Alexander Sr., also had, attaining a world ranking of No. 175. And Zverev’s older brother, Mischa, plays on the tour and has ranked in the top 50.
Casper Ruud of Norway is taking the lead from his 41-year-old father, Christian, who once ranked as high as No. 39 in the world.
Ruud challenged Fabian Fallert before surrendering 76(4) 63 in the first match. Zverev was pushed to 64 64 by Viktor Durasovic. And Durasovic and Fredrik Moe forced Germany to three sets in the doubles before Fallert and Zverev closed the deal with a 62 57 62 win.
The other seeded nations all came through with 3-0 wins: second-seeded Korea defeated France, Australia defeated Bolivia, Japan defeated Mexico, and Spain defeated Argentina.
Here’s the lineup for Wednesday’s Junior Davis Cup action:
Russia  v Argentina
Spain  v India
Germany  v Mexico
Japan  v Norway
USA  v Bolivia
Australia  v Netherlands
Korea, Rep.  v Peru 
South Africa v France