Photo: Susan MullaneAnna Bondar (HUN)
Hungary, the fourth seeds in this year’s Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals held in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, maintained their perfect record on Thursday as the round-robin group stages drew to a close. They defeated Bolivia 3-0 despite resting their No. 2 player, Fanny Stollar, for the singles. This left them with a perfect 9-0 record for the group stage but, more impressively, they have yet to drop a set in this year’s competition.
Rebeka Stolmar, whose participation in this year’s tournament had previously been restricted to doubles, led the team out on Thursday and did so in emphatic fashion defeating Natalia Barbery 63 60. Hungarian No. 1, Anna Bondar, then faced no trouble in taking the first set from Daniela Ruiz 61. Ruiz fought back in the second set, however, and forced a tiebreak. Ruiz had a set point at 6-4 but could not capitalise, then Bondar broke at 8-8 and served the match out 61 76(8). Bondar then teamed up with Stollar to defeat Ruiz and Natalia de Ugarte 63 63 and Hungary eased into the Final Four.
Australia will top Group D after winning all three of their ties. They faced Brazil in Thursday’s tie to decide who the top team would be. Brazil got off to the better start and won the opening rubber after Luisa Stefani fought from a set down to defeat Priscilla Hon 26 64 62.
Naiktha Bains was the player selected for the No. 1 berth for the Australians and she faced Leticia Vidal. Both players had won one and lost one of their singles matches in this year’s Finals but it was Bains who triumphed in this encounter 63 63. Bains’ victory forced a deciding doubles rubber and Australian captain Louise Pleming kept faith with her two singles players. She was rewarded when the pair pulled off a 76(5) 61 victory to send Australia through to Saturday’s semifinals.
USA also went into their final round-robin tie with France without having dropped a rubber and they moved to 7-0 in the group stage after Kaitlyn McCarthy defeated Apolline Rassat 62 61. USA’s No. 1 Katerina Stewart then took on Margot Yerolymos. The first set went to a tiebreak and Yerolymos stormed into a 5-0 lead before easily winning it 7-1. The second set was just as hard-fought but, similarly to the first set, Yerolymos proved too strong for the American and won 76(1) 75.
The tie went into a deciding doubles rubber and McCarthy teamed up with 14-year-old Michaela Gordon to record a 64 63 victory over Yerolymos and Rassat to seal USA’s place in the semifinals.
Russia will complete the semifinal lineup after they defeated host nation, and this year’s surprise package, Mexico. Veronika Kudermetova handed a first defeat of the week to Constanza Gorches 60 64 to give Russia the upper hand before Darya Kasatkina sealed the Russian victory defeating Renata Zarazua 63 63. Kudermetova partnered Aleksandra Pospelova to defeat Gorches and Zarazua 63 62 in the doubles and seal a 3-0 win.
Elsewhere today, Czech Republic proved too strong for Korea, Rep., Slovakia defeated Namibia and Egypt overcame New Zealand all by a 2-1 scoreline, while Slovenia overpowered Colombia 3-0.
The final standings for the groups are as follows:
The semifinals will be played on Saturday alongside the 13-16th place play-offs. Tomorrow sees one of the 5-8th place play-offs as well as the 9-12th place play-offs. The ties to be played tomorrow are as follows:
5-8th place play-off
Slovenia v Brazil
9-12th place play-offs
Czech Republic v Egypt
France v Slovak Republic