Photo: Mathilde DusolAlfie Hewett (GBR)
Top seed Great Britain and fourth seed Spain will contest Friday’s junior final at the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup after winning their respective semifinals during Thursday’s fourth day of play.
With the junior event once again supported by ITF Wheelchair Tennis Programme Partner the Johan Cruyff Foundation, former and current world No. 1 players in the Cruyff Foundation Junior girls’ ranking went head-to-head in the opening singles rubber of the semifinal between Great Britain and second seed Netherland as Lauren Jones took on Diede do Groot.
De Groot quickly established an early lead en route to taking the first set 6-2. Jones fought back in a close second set until her serve let her down for not the first time this week and she served a double fault to give de Groot the first rubber 62 64.
World No. 1 ranked boys’ player Alfie Hewett kept British hopes alive in the second rubber, the two-time Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters champion taking the first set from Carlos Anker 6-0. After Anker started the second set as the strong player, Hewett again found his form and proceeded to win another six games in a row for a 60 62 victory that levelled the tie.
After bowing out to USA in the 2012 semifinals, Hewett and Jones sought to progress a stage further and made a strong start in the deciding doubles rubber, comfortably winning the first set. In the second set Anker and de Groot raised their game and raced to a 4-2 lead. However, Hewett and Jones kept their focus and following some impressive exchanges went on claim tie 61 64.
“We always had confidence, we were both playing well. It was just a few unforced errors from us that led to us going behind in the second set,” said Jones. “As soon as we relaxed and hit our shots, they started to get nervous.”
“I am happy with both of our performances, it was a tough match,” said Hewett. “It was the belief that we could go a step further than last year that got us though and we believe that that we can now go on and win it."
If Great Britain is to win the junior title for just the second time, having won the event in Stockholm in 2007, it will have to avenge its loss to Spain in the round-robin phase of the event earlier in the week, when Felix Garcia and Martin de la Puente beat Great Britain in a crucial doubles rubber.
Spain defeated Russia to reach the final for the third time, having finished runner-up to Netherlands in the 2010 final at the same Club Ali Bey Manavgat facility. On that occasion the Spanish team again just consisted of two players, including Roberto Chamizo, who has returned to Antalya to represent Spain in World Group II.
This year de la Puente quickly gave Spain the lead in its semifinal, making light work of his match against Viktoriia Lvova.
However, Russia was not going to give the tie to Spain without a fight and Artur Saitgareev took the first set 7-6(6). However, Garcia managed to raise his game to take the rubber 67(6) 62 63.
Spain will now bid for its second junior title in three years after winning in South Africa in 2011.