26 May 2013

France wins fifth BNP Paribas World Team Cup title

Match Report

Photo: Mathilde Dusol2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup men's World Group champion France

Top seed France retained the BNP Paribas World Team Cup men’s World Group title on Sunday’s seventh and last day of play at Club Ali Bey Manavgat in Antalya, Turkey after Nicolas Peifer and Stephane Houdet won both singles rubbers to defeat second seed Netherlands 2-0.

The ITF’s flagship annual wheelchair tennis team event ends for this year with Netherlands having also won the women’s World Group title for the 26th time, while USA won its eighth quad title.

Great Britain won the junior event, which was again supported by ITF Wheelchair Tennis Programme Partner the Johan Cruyff Foundation, for the second time, while Australia won men’s World Group II to earn promotion to the men’s World Group for the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup.

World No. 10 Peifer dropped just the second game in the first set of the opening singles rubber against world No. 5 Ronald Vink and although Vink came from 3-0 down to be just one game adrift of the Frenchman in the second set at 4-3, Peifer broke once more to wrap up a 61 63 victory in exactly one hour.

In the second singles, world No. 2 Houdet and world No. 3 Maikel Scheffers shared the first four games before Houdet’s continued pressure reaped rewards and he gained the momentum to win the last four games of the opening set.

Houdet then reeled off the first three games of the second set en route to building a 5-1 lead. Scheffers retrieved open of the breaks against him, but was never able to get back on terms against and Houdet closed out a 62 63 victory after an hour and ten minutes.

“I knew what I had to do, I really wanted the trophy and I fought a lot,” said Peifer, referring to his win in the first singles rubber.

“It was nice to go out on court with Nico having won first,” said Houdet. “I just had to do a job and take advantage of the wind. I served well and was good with my angles and was confident after we had gone 1-0 up.”

It’s the third time since 2009 that Houdet, Peifer and Frederic Cattaneo have all been part of the victorious French team at the ITF’s annual flagship wheelchair tennis team event and France has now won five World Team Cup men’s World Group titles in the event’s 29 year history.

Sweden claims bronze. USA retains World Group status

Sweden, the winner of the men’s World Group when the World Team Cup was held at the same venue in Antalya in 2010, claimed the bronze medal this time after beating third seed Japan 2-0.

In a contest lasting just over three hours, Peter Vikstrom beat Takuya Miki 76(2) 57 60 in the first singles rubber of the third and fourth place play-off. After recovering from 5-3 down to take the second set Miki has little left for the final set as Vikstrom gave Sweden the lead.

World No. 2 Stefan Olsson faced another of Japan’s rising young stars, Takashi Sanada in the second singles and came from 5-2 down to take the opening set in a tiebreak. With Olsson and Sanada level after the first four games of the second set, the Swedish No. 1 wrapped up the tie by taking the last four games for a 76(4) 62 victory,

With USA having finished eleventh in the men’s World Group and Greece having been runner-up in men’s World Group II, the two nations went head-to-head on the last day in Antalya, with promotion or relegation at stake. In the event USA retained its place in the men’s World Group after Steve Baldwin and Steve Welch won both singles rubbers against Stefanos Diamantis and Georgos Lazaridis respectively give USA a 2-0 win.

Diamantis raced through the opening set against Baldwin and then came from 4-0 down to force a second set tiebreak before the American dominated the final set for a 16 76(1) 61 victory.

Former world No. 1 Welch, a previous winner of the men’s World Group title with USA, was never in any danger against Lazaridis, winning the first two and last two games of the opening set and dropping just the sixth game of the second set en route to completing  63 61 victory.