Photo: Ali BüyüklüogluThe vicotrious men's team from Greece
Greece will contest men’s World Group 2 for the seventh time, while Spain will make their 10th appearance in the women’s World Group in Turkey in May after the two nations won Tuesday’s men’s and women’s finals at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup European Qualification event in Antalya.
After defeating second seeds Croatia in the semifinals, fourth seeds Greece beat third seeds Israel 2-1 in the men’s final to earn their return to Turkey in May. Stefanos Diamantis gave the Greeks the foundation for their victory after defeating Amir Levi 60 61, while Giorgios Lazaridis clinched the decisive win when he overcame Asaaf Stokol 63 61.
Adam Berdichevsky and Stokol gave Israel a consolation point in the doubles after edging out Diamantis and Epameinondas Stamatis 26 64 (12-10) in a match tiebreak.
Greece, third in the 2012 qualification event, and Israel, fifth last year, joined Croatia in all finishing higher than they did 12 months ago.
Croatia improved on their eighth position in 2012 to finish third this year after defeating last year’s runners-up and this year’s top seeds Switzerland 2-1. Tomislav Cavar and Drazen Miksic won the deciding doubles rubber against Thomas von Daeniken and Christophe Vouillamoz 63 60 to give Croatia the win. Meanwhile, Russia completed the competition in fifth place, one place higher than in 2012, after beating Lithuania 3-0. Lithuania were ninth a year ago.
Host nation Turkey finished seventh after beating Ireland 2-1 and Denmark finished ninth.
Spain win deciding doubles rubber to beat Russia in women’s final
Ludmila Bubnova gave fourth seeds Russia a promising start to the women’s final at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup Qualification event after fending off Spain’s Elena Jacinto to win their singles rubber 63 26 64.
However, Spanish No. 1 Lola Ochoa forced a decisive doubles rubber after holding off a spirited effort from 14-year-old Viktoria Lvova to win the second singles rubber 63 64.
With all to play for in the doubles, the greater experience of Jacinto and Ochoa proved crucial and they went on to seal a 62 61 win over Bubnova and Lvova to give Spain a 2-1 victory.
Third seeds Switzerland denied host nation and second seeds Turkey a second successive third place finish after winning their play-off 2-0. Simona Rusnak saw off Julide Yildiz 63 61 before Gabriela Buehler secured a 62 63 win over Ebru Bulgurcu.
Fifth place went to 2012 runners-up Austria, who equalled their seeding for this year’s event in Antalya after Margit Fink and Henriett Koosz beat Israel 2-0 for a combined loss of just four games in their two singles rubbers.
Denmark beat Lithuania 2-1 to claim seventh place after arguably the most enthralling tie on the last day of play.
Louise Willersley-Olsen gave the Danish team the slimmest of advantages after edging Olena Grabovskaya 67(1) 64 61 in the opening singles rubber, before Olena Shyngaryova fought back valiantly to defeat Malene Olesen 46 63 64. But Denmark had the final say in another tense match, as Olesen and Olsen earned a 64 75 victory in the doubles rubber.
Greece and Spain join Nigeria and South Africa, winners of January’s African qualification event, in earning their respective places in men’s World Group 2 and the women’s World Group for the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup, which takes place back in Antalya in May.
The last of the regional qualification events takes place next week when Pensacola, USA hosts the BNP Paribas World Team Cup Americas Qualification on 13-16 March.