Photo: Jan-Willem de LangeFelix Garcia (ESP)
The junior and quad teams benefitted from their indoor courts on the second day of the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, as the first semifinalists were confirmed, with Spain earning its place in the junior semifinals and Israel and Japan securing spots in the quad event.
Boys’ world No. 51 Ildus Shaikhslamov made world No. 8 ranked junior Felix Garcia Perez work for a 61 67(4) 75 victory in the first Pool B singles rubber between Russia and Spain, with Garcia Perez coming back from match points down before Martin de la Puente beat Artur Saitgareev 63 76(6) to give Spain an unassailable lead and a guaranteed place in the semifinals.
Chile put its first day loss firmly aside after comfortably beating Turkey 3-0. Alexander Cataldo and Brayan Tapia put in a strong performance in their singles rubbers, each winning 60 60 before dropping just one game in the doubles rubber.
USA junior team upset the seeding by beating top seed Netherlandson Pool A of the junior event. All started well for the host nation, with Diede de Groot defeating Casey Ratzlaff 61 62. Chris Herman turned things around for USA, beating boys’ world No.2 Carlos Anker for the first time in his career 62 62.
A net cord on set point gave USA the first set of the deciding doubles before Netherlands came back to level at one set all, leaving the contest to be decided by a match tiebreak. The United States, featuring Herman and BNP Paribas World Team Cup newcomer Conner Stroud, quickly moved to 6-3 lead before Netherlands fought back to earn two match points at 9-7.
Two missed balls in the net allowed USA back into the match before Herman and Stroud gained their first match point after a double fault from the Dutch. Thereafter, USA only needed one opportunity as a volley from Anker went into the net.
“I am giving all my credit to my partner he played awesome today, he kept swinging through and somehow he pulled it out. It was a tough match, it was intense,” said Herman.
Defending junior champion Great Britain registered its first win this year after Nicholas Smelt gained his first BNP Paribas World Team Cup victory against Malaysia. Smelt beat Mohamad Firdaus Ibrahim 26 64 75 before Luz Esperanza Merry defeated Nazri Jefri 60 63 en route to Great Britain’s 3-0 victory.
Israel and Japan earn semifinal berths
Japan secured its place in the semifinals of the quad event at the World Team Cup for the third successive year after another thrilling conclusion to its second Pool A round-robin tie against Italy.
After beating top seed USA on the first day of play, Japan went behind against third seed Italy after Marco Innocenti defeated Shota Kawano 63 63 in the first singles rubber of the contest. Misuteru Moroishi kept Japan on course for a second victory in two days after beating Antonio Raffaele 62 63.
The doubles produced an extremely close and tense contest as both partnerships exchanged tiebreaks, before Kawano and Moroishi earned an early advantage in the match tiebreak en route to a remarkable 67(9) 76(5) (10-7 ) victory over Innocenti and Alfredo di Cosmo.
“We are very happy with the two wins we have earned, especially with our victory over the London 2012 gold medallists (Nick Taylor and David Wagner) yesterday,” said Moroishi. “They are wins for the whole team, not just as players, but also the coaches and the support team.”
Top seed USA bounced back from its defeat to Japan on the first day of the quad event to comfortably win all three rubbers against Austria. With one change to their line up by substituting Nick Taylor for Greg Hasterok,world No. 7 Hasterok came through against Markus Wallner 62 62 before David Wagner secured the tie with a 60 60 win over Peter Tatschl.
Italy and USA, now both with one win apiece from two ties, will meet to decide which country also advances to the semifinals from Pool A.
Israel was once more left at one rubber apiece after the singles rubbers against Canada. Noam Gershony again gave Israel the lead after winning the first singles, Sarah Hunter defeated Shraga Weinberg to level the tie, but Israel was too strong in the doubles, Gershony and Boaz Kramer defeating Hunter and Gary Luker 62 60 for a 2-1 victory and two wins from two ties.
Each with one win from two ties so far, Great Britain and Canada will decide the remaining semifinal place available in Pool B after Jamie Burdekin came from a set down and dropped just three more games in the next two sets to win his singles rubber against Anders Hard 57 63 60 en route to Great Britain’s 3-0 victory over Sweden.