Photo: Mathilde DusolNetherlands, women's World Group champion, 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup
Top seed Netherlands won the women’s World Group title for the 26th time on Friday’s fifth day of the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Antalya, Turkey, with Jiske Griffioen and Aniek Van Koot securing a 2-0 win over third seed Great Britain after the singles rubbers.
Griffioen and Van Koot were both members of the Dutch team that won the title for the 23rd time on the same centre court at Club Ali Bey Manavgat in 2010 and with Griffioen having moved up one place to equal her career best at No. 2 in this week’s world rankings Netherlands went into the final with the world’s top two ranked players.
Griffioen face a stern challenge from world No. 9 Jordanne Whiley in the opening set of the final, but won eight of the last ten games to complete a 75 62 victory.
“I knew that Jordanne could be dangerous and she played well in the first set, so I was pleased that I stayed focused and got the win,” said Griffioen.
World No. 1 van Koot went into the second singles rubber against world No. 5 Lucy Shuker not having lost to Shuker since summer of 2010 and their last two matches in 2012 ended with the Dutchman winning comfortably in straight sets.
Van Koot continued to prove too strong for Shuker, despite the British No. 1 coming from 5-1 down in the opening set to retrieve one of the breaks against her and Van Koot again one all the important points in a dominant second set performance to wrap up a 63 62 victory.
“We’re always very happy to win this title and I knew today I needed to keep my level up against Lucy and I managed to do that, so it’s a great end to the week and it’s nice to be back here to win the title in Antalya again,” said van Koot.
With world No. 3 Sabine Ellerbrock unable to play for second seed Germany in the third and fourth place play-off, Miho Nijo and Yui Kamij won both singles rubbers for fourth seed Japan to clinch a 2-0 victory and the bronze medal.
Australia and Greece reach men’s World Group II final
Both men’s World Group II semifinals went to championship tiebreaks in the deciding doubles rubbers as top seed Australia maintained its bid to earn promotion this year, while Greece continued its fine sequence on its return to Antalya, having won the BNP Paribas World Team Cup European qualification event in early March.
Stefanos Diamantis gave Greece a solid start against Italy when he eased past Luca Spano 63 61. Fabian Mazzei secured an equally convincing win for Italy, beating Georgios Lazaridis 62 62 to force the contest into a live doubles match, but it was the combination of Diamantis and Lazaridis that ultimately proved strongest to register a thrilling 76(3) 67(1) (10-5) victory.
Lazaridis “It is a very big experience for Greece to do something so big and after coming through qualification,” said Lazaridis. “In the doubles we had a very good team and we were very close to winning the first set at 6-5 up, but then lost the tiebreak. In the super tie-break we played very well and we won it quite easily.”
Adam Kellerman came through for a hard won 75 64 win over Luca Spano to get Australia’s semifinal challenge off to a winning start. Ben Weekes suggested that he might give Australia an unassailable lead after edging the opening set of the second singles against Joachim Gerard, but Gerard stepped up his intensity in the second set and remained in control to clinch a 67(5) 62 61 victory.
Like their opponents in the doubles Mike Denayer and Gerard, Kellerman and Weekes are past competitors in the junior event at the World Team Cup and the two partnerships enjoyed similar success in the two singles rubbers before Kellerman and Weekes dominated the championship tiebreak to prevail 63 36 (10-2).
Australia and Greece will now go head-to-head in Saturday’s men’s World Group II final, with the team that finishes runner-up set to return to court on Sunday’s last day in a play-off that will give a second opportunity at earning promotion to the men’s World Group.