12 Apr 2018

Men's event hots up as semis near in Vilamoura

News Article

Photo: Carlos Alves Sousa United Photo Press.Matthias Albanus and Anthony Dittmar (GER)

Germany, Croatia and Greece all won deciding doubles rubbers in the men’s event on Thursday’s second day of the BNP Paribas World Team Cup European Qualification in Vilamoura, Portugal, while top seed Great Britain and Belgium secured 3-0 wins in the women’s event.

Heavy rain delayed the start to Thursday's proceedings, with the 18 nations later welcomed at the opening ceremony, which was held indoors before the action got underway outdoors at Vilamoura Tennis Academy.

After taking fourth seed Croatia to a deciding doubles rubber on the opening day of play, Germany had to come from behind against Portugal on centre court in Vilamoura as Carlos Leitão snatched the first singles rubber against Matthias Albanus 75 75. Anthony Dittmar levelled the tie and then partnered Albanus to beat Leitão and João Melo 63 64. After its 2-1 win over Portugal, Germany plays Switzerland on Friday’s last day of men's Pool 4 competition.

Croatia’s second 2-1 win in successive days came against Switzerland as Drazen Miksic and Anto Joskic split the two singles rubbers against Raphael Gremion and Daniel Dalla Pellegrina, respectively. All four players then met in the deciding doubles rubber, Joskic and Mikic winning 64 63. Unbeaten after two days of play, Croatia next faces Portugal in its last Pool 4 tie when the semifinalists are decided on Friday.

Second seed Greece began its Pool 2 campaign with a 2-1 win over Turkey after Turan Akalin had given Turkey the early lead by edging out Giorgos Lazaridis 61 67(5) 76(2). The deciding doubles rubber was also a tight affair, Stefanos Diamantis and Lazaridis winning 75 75. Greece now takes on Czech Republic, a 2-1 winner of its opening tie on Wednesday.

Pool 1 is the only men’s pool in which neither of the top two teams has dropped a rubber to date. Top seed Spain plays Hungary on Friday to decide which nation goes through to the semifinals after Hungary’s 3-0 win over Estonia. Attila Farkas needed a deciding set before overcoming Mait Matas 61 57 62, while five-time Paralympian Laszlo Farkas put the tie out of reach of Estonia when easing to a 61 60 win over Vijlar Villiste.

Slovakia has completed its two Pool 3 round-robin contests with one victory and one loss after Marek Gergely and Tomasz Masaryk ensured three straight sets wins over Romania on Thursday.  Third seed Israel and Romania play the remaining tie in the pool on Friday.

Great Britain remains unbeaten in women’s event

Top seed Great Britain is the only nation to have won two ties over the course of the first two days of round-robin competition in the women’s event after Louise Hunt and Lucy Shuker ensured a 3-0 victory over Sweden on Thursday.

Hunt has yet to drop a game in Vilamoura after recording her second 60 60 win in successive days against Alicia Edson. World No. 8 Shuker had a much tougher time against Rebecka Sternisa Bellander, but converted the points that mattered to win the second singles rubber 63 76(3). Hunt and Shuker subsequently took the doubles rubber against Sanna Klindt and Sternisa Bellander 61 62.

Belgium also gained a hard-won 3-0 victory over Austria, with all three rubbers hotly contested. Sofie Cox’s 63 64 win over Christiina Pesendorder preceded a 64 46 75 win for Els Verhoeven against Margrit Fink. The doubles rubber produced arguably the most exciting match of the tie as Cox and Verhoeven came from behind to secure a deciding match tiebreak, edging past Fink and Pesendorfer 57 63 (10-8).

Friday’s third day of play brings a rest day for Great Britain as Belgium takes on second seed Russia, while Austria plays Sweden.