11 Apr 2018

Croatia, Israel men among early winners in Vilamoura

News Article

Photo: Angelo Leite Momentum PhotographyAnto Joskic (CRO)

Germany saved three match points before succumbing to men’s fourth seed Croatia in a deciding doubles rubber in one of the last two ties to finish on Wednesday’s first day of the BNP Paribas world Team Cup European Qualification in Vilamoura, Portugal.

While third seed Israel also beat Slovakia in a deciding doubles rubber, Spain and Switzerland both earned 3-0 wins on the opening day of round-robin pool competition.

The women’s event also began with 3-0 wins for top seed Great Britain and second seed Russia.  

Croatia and Israel edge through in doubles rubbers

Drazen Miksic’s 64 61 victory over Matthias Albanus gave Croatia’s men a solid start against Germany in Pool 4 before Anthony Dittmar levelled the tie with his 62 63 win over Anto Joskic. With Croatia 6-5 up in the second set of the doubles rubber Germany saved three set points, but Croatia finally converted a fourth match point for a 64 75 victory and the overall tie win 2-1.

Guy Sasson fought back from a set down to beat Tomas Masaryk 26 61 61, giving Israel the early lead over Slovakia in their opening Pool 3 tie. However, Marek Gergely brought Slovakia back into contention after beating Adam Berdichevsky 64 61. Berdichevsky then paired up with Asi Stokol to defeat Gergely and Masaryk 60 63, wrapping up Israel’s 2-1 win.

The Pool 2 tie between Czech Republic and Turkey also ended 2-1, but Czech Republic had already put the contest out of reach after winning both singles rubbers before a thrilling dead doubles rubber went the way of Turkey.

Turkey’s Turan Akalin made a bold attempt at snatching the opening singles rubber, but Petr Utikal dominated the final set to beat Akalin 57 76(1) 61. Michal Stefanu sealed the outright victory for Czech Republic after beating Hakan Gungor 63 63. However, Akalin and Gungor put their all into the doubles rubber, holding on to beat Tomas Svacek and Utikal 36 64 (10-7).  

Host nation Portugal had a tough time in its opening Pool 4 round-robin tie against Switzerland,  Raphael Gremion winning the first singles rubber against João Sanona 61 62 before Daniel Dalla Pellegrina defeated João Sanona 61 61. Gremion and Yann Jauss also had much the better of the doubles to defeat Carlos Leitão and Francisco Aguiar 62 61.

Meanwhile, top seed Spain raced to a 3-0 win over Estonia, with Daniel Caverzaschi’s 61 60 win over Viljar Villiste in the second singles rubber bringing the only game top seed Spain lost throughout its three rubbers

Great Britain and Russia women make winning starts

Louise Hunt gave Great Britain a dominant start to its opening round-robin tie, beating Austria’s Christine Pesendorfer 60 60.

World No. 8 Lucy Shuker put the tie beyond Austria’s reach after beating Margrit Fink 63 61. Shuker then joined forces with Lauren Jones to beat Fink and Pesendorfer 60 61 in the doubles rubber. Top seed Great Britain now bids to maintain its unbeaten record against Sweden on Friday.

Two 60 60 wins began and concluded second seed Russia’s win over Sweden, Viktoriia Lvova recovering from a slow start to beat Rebecca Sternisa Bellander 36 61 60 in the second singles rubber.

Polina Shakirova had opened the tie with victory over Sana Klindt, while Ludmila Bunova partnered Lvova to beat Klindt and Sternisa Bellander without dropping a singles game in the doubles rubber.

Sweden next plays Great Britain on Thursday, when Belgium begins its campaign with a round-robin contest against Austria.