Photo: Mathilde DusolAnders Hard and Marcus Jonsson (SWE)
The start of the quad and junior events saw a series of exciting ties decided in doubles rubbers on the opening day of the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Antalya.
South African world No. 5 Lucas Sithole took third seed Great Britain into a deciding doubles match following his comeback against world No. 7 Jamie Burdekin to complete a 06 63 62 victory. “I was missing my rhythm in the first set. In the second set I found it,” said Sithole.
Anthony Cotterill had previously put Great Britain into the lead after winning the first singles rubber against Steven Kekai 61 60.
In the doubles the British duo of Burdekin and Cotterill had four set points in the first set tiebreak, but failed to convert. Sithole and Kekai kept their nerve and took their first opportunity to win the tiebreak 8-6.
Great Britain came back fighting to take the second set and the teams exchanged points through the championship tiebreak before South Africa hit a high topspin forehand to claim the tie 2-1 with a 76(6) 36 10-8 victory. “We kept playing our game as we’d practised and it worked for us,” said Kekai.
The day ended with Sweden gaining a 2-1 win over Canada in a remarkable tie in which all the rubbers were closely contested. Sarah Hunter beat world No. 6 Anders Hard 60 46 75 in the second singles rubber to force a crucial doubles contest that saw Hard and Marcus Jonsson defeat Adrian Dieleman and Hunter 46 62 (10-6).
Top seed USA started its bid for the quad title with Nick Taylor easing past Marco Innocenti 61 61. World No. 1 David Wagner then faced a strong challenge from Antonio Raffaele, but held his nerve to win the rubber 67(10) 62 62, securing the win for the USA.
“I was glad to get the first match going and fortunately I played well and got used to the conditions. I am quite happy on the clay, it suits my game,” said Taylor.
Israel beat Japan in a match that saw the return of former world No.1 and London Paralympic gold medallist Noam Gershony. Gershony defeated Mitsuteru Moroishi 62 64 in the second singles rubber to give Israel the tie following Shraga Weinberg’s 61 62 victory against Shota Kawano in the first rubber.
Top seeds Great Britain and Netherlands earn early wins
Top seed Great Britain had a strong start to its campaign in the junior event, playing Tanzania, who is making its BNP Paribas World Team Cup debut this year.
Luz Esperanza Merry, who was competing in her first ever wheelchair tennis match, beat Mohamed Juma 61 60. Merry has the experience of a tennis background, having competed in non-disabled tennis tournaments until the age of eleven. World No. 1 junior Alfie Hewett secured the tie after beating Novatus Emmanuel Temba 60 60.
All of the other three ties in the junior event went down to the final doubles rubber. Spain, who won the Junior event in 2011, made its return having not competed in 2012 and faced USA in its first match. Martin de la Puente made a good start for the Spanish, beating Krystal Kelley.
Things were not so easy for Felix Garcia. Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters semifinalist Chris Herman saved two match points in the second set tiebreak and took the match into the deciding doubles. However, the Spanish kept their nerve and displayed a good use of tactics to comfortably win the contest 61 61.
“I was a little nervous at first, but then I got more confidence. It was a good experience for me,” said Garcia. De la Puente also noted his nerves, with both players making their debut in the tournament, but he was delighted with the win. “I am very happy. It was my first match here and I hope to win more and more matches.”
Iraq once again returned to the junior event and faced second seed and defending champion Netherlands on the opening day.
Thomas Zomerdijk beat Zahraa Jawad 62 61 to give Netherlands the lead before Hussein Hel beat world Junior No. 1 junior girl Diede de Groot 67(5) 63 60. But the Dutch took the match in the doubles, with Carlos Anker and de Groot holding off Hel and Jawad 63 75.
Also in the junior event Russia beat third seed South Africa as Artur Saitgareev and Polina Shakirova teamed up to beat Gift Lekhanyane and Thato Tsomole in a championship tiebreak 64 46 (10-1).