Photo: Susan MullaneBenjamin Budziak (POL)
The top seeds were in action in most Cups today at the Seniors World Team Championships in Antalya, Turkey, and several had unexpectedly tough battles in the first round robin matches of their 2013 campaign.
Defending champions France, seeded second in the Italia Cup (men’s 35), got off to a bad start when Poland’s Jakub Ulczynski defeated Rodolphe Mouveau 75 61. The French quickly recovered, however, with Xavier Pujo beating Adam Ludwikiewicz 60 61 before teaming up with Xavier Audouy to win the deciding doubles over Ulczynski and Beniamin Budziak. In contrast top seeds Spain, runners-up in 2012, dropped just three games in an easy 3-0 win over Norway. The big upset of the day in this event was the defeat of fourth-seeded USA versus Romania, former ATP top 100 player Dinu Pescariu sealing victory with a straight sets win over Stuart Duncan.
Romania and USA also had a fierce battle in the Tony Trabert Cup (men’s 40) in one of the longest encounters of the day. William Quest put the second seeds ahead with a 75 36 75 win over Sorin Donescu before Razvan Itu levelled the tie by defeating Carsten Hoffman, also in three sets. The doubles also went the distance before the Americans eventually prevailed 64 in the third set to take pole position in Group B. As in the Italia Cup, the other tournament favourites had an easier time as top seeds France dropped just one game to Latvia to open their title defence. The only seeds to lose today were South Africa, seeded nine, who went down 2-1 to New Zealand.
France also top seeds in the Dubler Cup (men’s 45) and began their campaign with a straightforward 3-0 win over South Africa. The other top seeds also all had easy wins in their first round robin matches, as did the top four seeds in the Fred Perry Cup (men’s 50). USA, top seeds in the Austria Cup (men’s 55), struggled briefly in their first rubber as Peter Markes needed three sets to overcome Poland’s Jan Papierz but after he secured victory the Americans didn’t look back, winning the second singles and the doubles comfortably. The other top seeded teams in the Austria Cup also won today, although No. 7 Netherlands and No. 8 Canada lost to Belgium and South Africa respectively.
One of the most tightly fought encounters in the women’s event came in the Suzanne Lenglen Cup (women’s 35), as fourth seeds Germany were beaten by unseeded Switzerland in the third set of the deciding doubles rubber. All the other seeds in this Cup won comfortably today, although sixth seeds Estonia dropped one singles rubber against Poland.
It was a topsy-turvy day for the seeds in the Young Cup (women’s 40). Top seeds and defending champions France dropped the first singles rubber to Germany as Corinna Kaup beat Alexandra Fouquet, but Caroline Dhenin quickly put the French back on equal terms by defeating Karen Seele without dropping a game. The French won the doubles in straight sets to get off to a winning start in the defence of their title. Second seeds Spain had a 3-0 win over Switzerland although Ana Salas needed three sets to get past Sabine Rybysar and the doubles also went to a third set. In between Noelia Perez beat Sandra Hopfner 60 60.
In the Margaret Court Cup (women’s 45), defending champions Ireland suffered their second consecutive defeat as they went down 2-1 to Netherlands. In the same round robin group, the tie between seventh seeds Belgium and unseeded Austria, featuring world No.2 Lucie Schwab, also went down to the wire. Ingrid Gutmann-Resch put Austria in front with a win over Annouk Donne before Klaartje Van Baarle levelled the tie by beating Schwab. Van Baarle then teamed up with Pascale Mossoux to edge a nailbiting doubles 76 75 over Karin Hartmann and Sabine Hekele to win the tie and leave Belgium topping Group D with one match left to play.
The top five seeds made it through in the Maria Esther Bueno Cup (women’s 50), most dropping very few games. Netherlands, the sixth seeds, were the biggest seeds to fall after losing both singles matches to Spain, who now top Group F after their two matches. Germany, seeded No. 7, lost their second tie in a row as they fell to Switzerland in the deciding doubles to leave themselves bottom of the group.
The seeds all progressed smoothly in the Maureen Connolly Cup (women’s 55), although eighth-seeded Netherlands had to come from behind before beating Canada 2-1.
Live scoring from the Suzanne Lenglen Cup and Maria Esther Bueno Cup is available here.