25 May 2013

Australia claims men's World Group II title

Match Report

Photo: Mathilde DusolAustralia, men's World Group II champion

Top seed Australia earned a return to the men’s World Group for the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup after lifting the World Group II title in Antalya on the sixth day of the 2013 event, with Adam Kellerman and Ben Weekes winning both singles rubbers comfortably in a 2-0 victory over Greece in the final.

Kellerman raced through the first set of the contest against Stefanos Diamantis and gained an early break in the second before Diamantis levelled the set at 3-3. However Kellerman regained the momentum to win the last three games and close out a 60 63 win.

Weekes dropped just the fourth game of the first set in the second singles rubber against Giorgos Lazaridis and then reeled off the last four games of the second to wrap up a 61 63 win.

Australia is now just the second nation to win the men’s World Group II title after previously winning the men’s World Group. Australia is a former four-time champion in the men’s World Group. Japan achieved the same feat when winning men’s World Group II in South Africa in 2011.

“It was really good today and we were happy to finish it in both singles,” said Weekes. “We didn’t really know the Greece team, but obviously they’ve played well all week to get to the final, so we weren’t sure what to expect. But we played really well today to follow up on yesterday’s semifinal result. It’s been our goal all week to win the title and earn promotion, so we’re delighted to have achieved that.

After earning promotion from men’s World Group II last year and playing in the men’s World Group for the first time this year, South Africa will be relegated again after 3-0 loss against USA in the play-off for eleventh and twelfth places.

USA will now face Greece in a play-off on the last day of the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup, with promotion and relegation at stake.

Netherlands and France into men’s World Group final 

Top seed Netherlands will face second seed and defending champion France in Sunday’s men’s World Group final at the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup at Club Ali Bey Manavgat, Antalya, in Turkey. 

Meanwhile, top seed Australia won the men’s World Group II title to earn promotion to the World Group on the sixth and penultimate day of play.

Top seed Netherlands beat Sweden 2-1 after Ronald Vink and Maikel Scheffers both had to come from a set down to win their respective singles rubbers against Peter Vikstrom and Stefan Olsson.

World No. 5 Vink recovered to defeat Vikstrom 26 62 62 in the opening singles rubber to give Netherlands the lead, while world No. 3 Maikel Scheffers had to recover from an even bigger first set deficit to defeat world No. 7 Olsson 16 61 62. Scheffers’s win gave Netherlands an unassailable lead, ending Sweden’s hopes of regaining the title they last won at the same venue in Antalya in 2010.

It was really tough again today and the past two matches here for me have been really tough,” sad Vink. I wasn’t really right in my head on the court and I had to do something. With some big help from Marc (Kalkman, Netherlands captain) and Robin Ammerlaan yesterday evening I was more focused on the ball and focused on the court than I was two days ago.

“Peter was playing good today, but I knew a lot more where I was hitting the shots today than I did a couple of days ago. Maikel did a good job, too. Sometimes he needs a set to warm up, but it’s great that we are in the final again.”

Sweden will go into Sunday’s third and fourth place play-off on a winning note after claiming the dead doubles rubber. With Dan Wallin coming in to partner Vikstrom and Rody de Bie coming in to partner Vink, Sweden won 57 60 (10-6).

In the other semifinal Frederic Cattaneo gave France the lead after beating Takashi Sanada 46 61 64, while Shingo Kunieda kept Japan’s hopes alive after beating Stephane Houdet 75 76(4) in a much anticipated and fascinating match-up between the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 ranked men’s singles players.

Third seed Japan looked to be on course for a place in the final after Kunieda and Sanada moved a set and 3-0 up in the deciding doubles rubber, but Cattaneo and Houdet fought back and after taking a commanding 5-0 lead in the championship tiebreak they eventually converted the first of seven match points to prevail 36 57 (10-2).

“I said to Fred after we went a set and 3-0 down that we could do the same as Sweden, as they were a set and 4-0 down against Great Britain earlier in the week and won that to reach the semifinals,” said Houdet. “Every time in tennis, until the last point you have to fight and when you’re at the bottom of the mountain that’s the time you have to do something and that’s what we did and we’re very happy at the end.”