Photo: Do-Won KimAdam Kellerman (AUS)
The top four seeded nations in the men’s World Group started their campaigns on the third day of competition at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, with Netherlands, France, Japan and Sweden all ensuring comfortable victories after the completion of their singles rubbers at the Olympic Park Tennis Centre in Seoul, Korea Republic.
Meanwhile, Thailand upset top seeds Australia to reach the World Group 2 semifinals and the four top seeds reached the women's semifinals.
MEN’S WORLD GROUP
Netherlands began the defence of their men’s title by taking on Poland on Centre Court and world No. 7 Robin Ammerlaan set the tone for the contest after defeating Kamil Fabisiak 61 60. New world No. 3 Ronald Vink had a tougher time against Poland’s No. 1 Tadeusz Kruszelnicki, but still came through with relative ease 63 61 en route to Netherlands securing a 3-0 victory.
Second seeds France faced host nation Korea Republic and Sam-Ju Kim made every effort to give the hosts hope of a big upset, but Frederic Cattaneo eventually proved too strong and won the opening singles rubber 63 64 64 before world No. 7 Michael Jeremiasz put a French victory beyond any doubt.
Shingo Kunieda, who has dropped to No. 5 in this week’s rankings, marked his return to World Team Cup competition by posting a 60 60 victory over Martin Varela as 2011 World Group 2 champions Japan dropped just one game throughout their 3-0 win over Spain.
The closest match of the day out of all those involving the top four seeded nations ended with world No. 8 Stefan Olsson edging past Joachim Gerard 64 75 en route to Sweden’s 3- win over Belgium.
The round robin group phase of the men’s World Group concludes on the fourth day of play in Seoul.
WOMEN’S WORLD GROUP
The only one of the four women’s ties on the third day of play to go to a deciding doubles rubber came in the Group C contest between third seeds Japan and fifth seeds South Africa.
After Kanako Domori had beaten Rose van der Meer without losing a single game, world No. 6 Yui Kamiji and world No. 9 Kgothatso Montjane provided the closely fought match that had been much anticipated and Montjane had to come from behind to beat the world’s top ranked junior 46 61 63.
However, Domori and Kamiji proved to be the more effective doubles partnership and beat Celia du Toit and Montjane 62 62 to give Japan a 2-1 victory.
With all four top seeds in the women’s semifinals, Japan face second seeds and Group B winners Germany after Katharina Kruger and Sabine Ellerbrock won both their singles rubbers against Korea Republic in straight set s and then won the doubles rubber against Myung-Hee Hwang and Ju-Yeon Park 61 46 62.
Top seeds the Netherlands will play fourth seeds Great Britain in the other semifinal after Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot won both their singles rubbers against Chile’s Francisca Mardones and Maria Antonieta Ortiz without the loss of a single game to leave the Dutch at the top of Group A.
Great Britain also topped Group D after Jordanne Whiley, Lucy Shuker and Louise Hunt combined to beat Spain’s Elena Jacinto and Lola Ochoa 3-0.
MEN’S WORLD GROUP 2
After Nigeria’s defeat of fourth seeds Switzerland on the second day of play, there was another upset on the third day as Thailand defeated World Group 2 top seeds Australia 2-1.
After Adam Kellerman had beaten Suwitchai Merngprom 64 61 in the opening singles rubber, Sumrerng Kruamai dug deep to keep Thailand’s challenge on track when he upset world No. 19 Ben Weekes 76(7) 76(4).
With all three of Thailand’s players ranked between No. 50 and No. 100 in the world rankings, Suthi Khlongrua then partnered Kruamai to beat Kellerman and Weekes 64 57 61 in the crucial doubles rubbers.
Thailand complete their round robin matches at the top of Group A and will therefore face eighth seeds Germany in the semifinals after Sven Hiller and Steffen Sommerfeld inflicted the second defeat in successive days on Switzerland.
Germany will be the only European team in the World Group 2 semifinals after Sri Lanka beat Italy, the winners of the qualification competition for Europe earlier in the year, after another thrilling finish.
Dissanayake gave Sri Lanka the lead in their final Group C tie after easing to a 61 61 win over Ivan Lion, but Italy’s No. 1 Fabian Mazzei went on to win his singles rubber against Upali Rajakaruna 64 61. An enthralling doubles decider ended with Gamini and Rajakaruna recording a hard won 63 57 64 victory over Mazzei and Luca Spano and Sri Lanka will now contest the World Group 2 semifinals for the second time in three years when they play South Africa for a place in the final.
South Africa’s route to the semifnals also brought a thrilling conclusion to their Group D contests as Evans Maripa came from a set down in the second singles rubber against Canada to beat Joel Dembe 46 75 63, thereby giving South African an unassailable 2-0 lead and sealing the top spot in Group D.
Overview of Matches - Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Men's World Group Draw
Men's World Group 2 Draw
Women's World Group Draw
Quad World Group Draw
Junior World Group Draw