The opening women’s round-robin ties provided the highlights on Friday’s first day of play at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup European Qualification event in Antalya, Turkey, with top seeds Spain, second seeds Turkey and Israel all winning their contests in deciding doubles rubbers.
All three of Israel’s rubbers against Ukraine went to three sets after Olena Grabovskaya finished strongest against Veronika Zvik to win 36 767(2) 62 to give Ukraine the lead. However, Inna Mashkovsky brought Israel level after defeating Olena Shyngaryova 62 26 61 before partnering Zvik to beat Grabovskaya and Shyngaryova 63 36 (10-2) after a deciding match tiebreak to give Israel a 2-1 victory.
Israel end the first day of pool matches sharing a victory with host nation Turkey in their group of four nations. After Switzerland’s Simona Rusnak has dropped just three games to Ebru Bulgurcu, 18-year-old Busra Un galvanised Turkey’s hopes by defeating Gabriela Buehler 64 63 and Un then partnered Julide Yildiz to defeat Buehler and Rusnak 63 61, hand Turkey a 2-1 victory.
In the other pool top seeds Spain also had to come from behind before securing a 2-1 win over Russia. Ludmila Bubnova clinched a tense opening rubber 26 62 75 for Russia, but Lola Ochoa, the highest ranked player in the women’s event, kept Spain in the tie after defeating Viktoria Lvova 75 60. After a narrow loss against Bubnova, Elena Jacinto went on to partner Ochoa to wrap up Spain’s victory after edging out Bubnova and Polina Shakirova 64 75.
The other women’s tie on the opening day ended in a 3-0 win for Austria, runners-up in the 2012 qualification event, against Denmark. Margit Fink and Henriett Koosz both dropped just two games apiece to give Austria an unassailable lead after the singles rubbers before pairing up to ease past Louise Willersley-Olsen and Malene Olesen 60 61.
Croatia, Greece and Russia win opening men’s ties
Croatia, Greece and Russia won the first ties in each of the three men’s pools in Antalya, each securing victories after the completion of their singles rubbers.
The only tie to not finish 3-0 involved second seed Croatia and third seeds Israel. All rubbers featured tiebreaks, but ultimately Drazen Miksic beat Amir Levi 60 76(3) and Anto Joskic held on to edge out Asaaf Stokol 76(1) 75 in a thrilling contest to give Croatia the victory before Levi and Stokol beat Tomislav Cavar and Miksic 76(2) 75.
There were more tiebreaks in a fascinating contest between Russia and Denmark as Alexandr Fedorov opened up with a 62 76(2) win over Christian Illum. Christoffer Holmer tried his level best to force a deciding doubles for Denmark, but another dramatic conclusion saw Yurioy Golovin battle back from a set down to beat Holmer 57 64 76(3) in a final set tiebreak.
Greece secured a 3-0 win over Turkey to end the first day at the top of their pool of three nations after Stefanos Diamantis and Giorgios Lazaridis won both their singles rubbers and doubles rubber in straight sets.