Spain's men's team with ITF Wheelchair Tennis Manager Mark Bullock
Top seed Spain and second seed Russia won the men’s and women’s events respectively on Wednesday’s final day of the BNP Paribas World Team Cup European Qualification in Antalya, Turkey, as both finals were decided in doubles rubbers.
Spain has now qualified for men’s World Group II at the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup, which will be held in Alphen, Netherlands from 26 May until 1 June. Russia completes the field of 12 countries for the women’s World Group at the end of the four regional qualification events that have been held in Kenya, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka and Turkey since the beginning of March.
Spain’s qualification takes the number of countries confirmed to play in men’s World Group II to ten. The last two wildcard places to bring the eventual field of countries to 12 will be awarded by the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee and announced in due course.
Spain will now have a men’s team at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup for the 23rd time in the 30-year history of the ITF’s flagship wheelchair tennis team event, while Russia will play in the women’s World Group for the sixth time.
Spain beats Switzerland
With both of Spain’s singles players in the men’s final having been members of the team that won the World Team Cup junior title in 2011 Roberto Chamizo met Switzerland’s Raphael Gremion in the opening rubber and Gremion edged a fascinating contest 75 64. The second singles rubber was also a closely fought affair, but Daniel Caverzaschi clinched the important points to overcome Daniel Pellegrina’s challenge 63 63.
After two tense singles contests, the deciding doubles rubber was relatively one-sided as Caverzaschi partnered Alvaro Illobre to defeat Gremion and Pellegrina 63 60.
“We are so happy because the final was a tough and a close match. After losing first singles the team played very well and we achieved this qualification and we are very happy, as it is very important for our country to get back in the World Team Cup,” said Spain’s captain David Sanz.
Russia defeats Italy
While Caverzaschi and Chamizo both have experience of success with Spain in the World Team Cup junior event, two of Russia’s three women’s team members in Antalya this week were part of the team that finished fourth in the junior event at the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup.
One of them, 15-year-old world No. 2 junior Viktoriia Lvova, gave Russia an early lead in the women’s final on Wednesday, powering to a 60 62 win over Italy’s Stefannia Galletti. Ludmila Bubnova, the most experienced member of the Russian team, made every effort to give Russia an unassailable lead, but Italy’s world No. 18 Marianna Lauro held on for a 76(7) 64 win to keep the final alive and force the doubles rubber.
However, Lvova and Bubnova combined with great effect to win the doubles against Galletti and Lauro 61 63, wrapping up a 2-1 victory for Russia.
“We are very happy. The team played well. We are delighted to qualify for the World Group,” said Russia’s captain Olga Murina.
Hungary edges Russia in men’s play-offs
The four men’s play-offs for minor places ended in 2-1 wins for third-placed Hungary and ninth-placed Turkey, while Croatia beat Romania 3-0 to claim fifth and Israel defeated Ireland 2-0 to finish seventh.
The closest finish of the day came in Hungary’s 2-1 win over Russia as Laszlo Farkas and Sandor Navratyil edged out Yuriy Golovin and Artur Saitgareev 26 62 (10-5) after a championship tiebreak in the doubles rubber.
After bowing out to Italy in the women’s semifinals, top seed France ended the week on a winning note after beating Switzerland 3-0 to claim third place.
Just as host nation Turkey had done in the men’s event, Busra Un and Julide Yildiz also completed the women’s event on a winning note, clinching a deciding doubles rubber against Poland as Turkey earned fifth place.
Belgium’s Sofie Cox and Els Verhoeven edged to victory in the closest finish of the day in the women’s event, winning the deciding doubles rubber in the seventh place play-off against Sweden 62 67(7) (10-6).