November 25, 2015

Switzerland, France and Italy Stage Comebacks to Clinch Berths in Davis Cup Semis

(April 6, 2014) France, Italy and the Czech Republic each had to rally from 1-2 down going into Sunday’s play in Davis Cup and each team won their final two rubbers to join the Czech Republic in the semifinals which will take place September 12-14.

France came back from a 0-2 deficit on Friday to beat Germany, closing out the tie on Sunday with wins from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils. It’s only the eighth time in Davis Cup history that a team has come back from being down two matches to none. They will face the Czech Republic in the semifinals who beat Japan 5-0.

Tsonga dominated Tobias Kamke 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Tsonga hit 45 winners in the match.

Gael Monfils sealed the win for France, beating Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 7-6 (0), 6-2. Monfils won the first five games of the match and shut out his opponent in the second set tiebreak.

Team Italy came into Sunday’s play down 1-2. An inspired Fabio Fognini beat Wimbledon champion Andy Murray 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to level the tie at 2-2. Andreas Seppi completed the comeback by topping James Ward 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

It will be the first time in 16 years that Italy has reached the semifinals of Davis Cup. Italy has won the Davis Cup only once, back in 1976.

Italy will face Switzerland next.

Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer won their matches on Sunday to seal Switzerland’s win over a game Kazakhstan team 3-2.

Wawrinka leveled the tie at 2-2 with Kazakhstan rallying to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 for his first point of the weekend. The Australian Open champion lost his opening singles match to Golubev and the doubles where he teamed up with Federer. The Swiss did not allow any break points during the match.

For the first time in his career, Roger Federer played a live fifth rubber in a Davis Cup tie. No. 4 Federer held back No.  64 Andrey Golubev 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-

For Switzerland, they have sealed a berth in their first Davis Cup semifinal in 11 years. They’ll play Italy at home for a chance to reach the final.


The nations competing in the World Group play-offs which take place the same weekend as the semifinals are:

World Group first round losing nations: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and USA.

Zone Group I second round winning nations: Brazil, Croatia, Colombia, India, Israel, Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The draw for the play-offs will take place on Tuesday.

Davis Cup Results:




Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, JPN (hard – indoor)


Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 67(5) 76(5) 61 75

Lukas Rosol (CZE) d. Taro Daniel (JPN) 64 64 36 46 62

Lukas Rosol/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Tatsuma Ito/Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 64 64 64

Lukas Rosol (CZE) d. Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 63 36 64

Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Taro Daniel (JPN) 64 64


FRANCE defeated GERMANY 3-2

Venue: Palais des Sports Jean Weille, Nancy, FRA (hard – indoor)


Tobias Kamke (GER) d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 76(8) 63 62

Peter Gojowczyk (GER) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 57 76(3) 36 76(8) 86

Julien Benneteau/Michael Llodra (FRA) d. Andre Begemann/Tobias Kamke (GER) 61 76(5) 46 75

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Tobias Kamke (GER) 63 62 64

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 61 76(0) 62



Venue: Tennis Club Napoli, Naples, ITA (clay – outdoor)


Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. James Ward (GBR) 64 26 64 61

Andy Murray (GBR) d. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 64 75 63

Colin Fleming/Andy Murray (GBR) d. Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) 63 62 36 75

Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Andy Murray (GBR) 63 63 64

Andreas Seppi (ITA) d. James Ward (GBR) 64 63 64



Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard – indoor)


Andrey Golubev (KAZ) d. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 76(5) 62 36 76(5)

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 64 64 62

Andrey Golubev/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) d. Roger Federer/Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 64 76(5) 46 76(6)

Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 67(4) 64 64 64

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Andrey Golubev (KAZ) 76(0) 62 63





BRAZIL defeated ECUADOR 3-1

Venue: Francisco Segura Cano, Guayaquil, ECU (clay – outdoor)


Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) d. Julio-Cesar Campozano (ECU) 64 26 64 64

Emilio Gomez (ECU) d. Guilherme Clezar (BRA) 67(3) 64 1-1 ret.

Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) d. Gonzalo Escobar/Giovanni Lapentti (ECU) 62 60 63

Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) d. Emilio Gomez (ECU) 64 67(10) 61 61

Julio-Cesar Campozano (ECU) v Guilherme Clezar (BRA) – not played



Venue: Estadio de Tenis “Alvaro Carlos Jordan”, Cali, COL (clay – outdoor)


Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. Jose Hernandez (DOM) 62 46 64 67(3) 62

Alejandro Falla (COL) d. Victor Estrella (DOM) 46 62 57 62 62

Juan-Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (COL) d. Victor Estrella/Jose Hernandez (DOM) 63 62 64

Peter Bertran (DOM) d. Robert Farah (COL) 26 61 64

Juan-Sebastian Cabal (COL) d. Jose Olivares (DOM) 60 61


UZBEKISTAN defeated CHINA, P.R. 3-2

Venue: Tianjin Tennis Center, Tianjin, CHN (hard – outdoor)


Denis Istomin (UZB) d. Zhang Ze (CHN) 64 46 36 63 64

Wu Di (CHN) d. Farrukh Dustov (UZB) 16 76(4) 76(4) 36 97

Farrukh Dustov/Denis Istomin (UZB) d. Gong Mao-Xin/Li Zhe (CHN) 64 62 62

Wu Di (CHN) d. Denis Istomin (UZB) 16 75 63 75

Farrukh Dustov (UZB) d. Zhang Ze (CHN) 62 16 63 67(4) 63



Venue: Spo1 Tennis Courts, Busan, KOR (hard – outdoor)


Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Chung Hyeon (KOR) 76(4) 76(3) 64

Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) d. Sanam Singh (IND) 76(5) 64 64

Rohan Bopanna/Saketh Myneni (IND) d. Lee Hyung-Taik/Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 76(4) 57 76(2) 63

Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 64 57 63 61

Chung Hyeon (KOR) v Sanam Singh (IND) – not played





CROATIA defeated POLAND 3-1

Venue: Torwar Hall, Warsaw, POL (hard – indoor)


Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Michal Przysiezny (POL) 61 64 64

Borna Coric (CRO) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 26 62 75 57 64

Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski (POL) d. Marin Draganja/Mate Pavic (CRO) 67(1) 76(4) 46 76(2) 64

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 36 67(5) 64 61 63

Michal Przysiezny (POL) v Borna Coric (CRO) – not played


ISRAEL defeated SLOVENIA 3-1

Venue: SRC Marina Portoroz, SLO (clay – outdoor)


Amir Weintraub (ISR) d. Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 46 75 63 36 64

Blaz Rola (SLO) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 63 64 64

Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Blaz Rola/Grega Zemlja (SLO) 76(7) 46 76(5) 63

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Grega Zemlja (SLO) 62 67(5) 60 62

Blaz Rola (SLO) v Amir Weintraub (ISR) – not played


UKRAINE defeated SWEDEN 4-1

Venue: Baltiska Hallen, Malmo, SWE (hard – indoor)


Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Johan Brunstrom (SWE) 64 64 57 36 1311

Artem Smirnov (UKR) d. Markus Eriksson (SWE) 64 61 62

Johan Brunstrom/Robert Lindstedt (SWE) d. Sergei Bubka/Denys Molchanov (UKR) 76(4) 67(6) 36 64 108

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Markus Eriksson (SWE) 76(5) 76(4) 64

Sergei Bubka (UKR) d. Robert Lindstedt (SWE) 57 76(3) ret.



Venue: Aegon Arena, National Tennis Centre, Bratislava, SVK (hard – indoor)


Norbert Gombos (SVK) d. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 64 36 63 64

Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) 76(3) 46 46 62 63

Martin Klizan/Michal Mertinak (SVK) d. Alexander Peya/Dominic Thiem (AUT) 67(4) 36 76(5) 64 64

Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) d. Norbert Gombos (SVK) 76(5) 75

Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Gerald Melzer (AUT) 46 63 62






Venue: National Tennis Centre, St Michael, BAR (hard – outdoor)


Darian King (BAR) d. Rafael Arevalo (ESA) 61 63 63

Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) d. Haydn Lewis (BAR) 76 (5) 57 64 76(1)

Darian King/Haydn Lewis (BAR) d. Marcelo Arevalo/Rafael Arevalo (ESA) 26 64 76(9) ret.

Darian King (BAR) d. Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) 60 1-0 ret.

Seanon Williams (BAR) d. Salvador Andres Bolanos (ESA) 62 67(5) 76(8)


MEXICO defeated PERU 3-1

Venue: Club Britania Zavaleta, Puebla, MEX (hard – outdoor)


Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Mauricio Echazu (PER) 63 46 76(2) 64

Duilio Beretta (PER) d. Cesar Ramirez (MEX) 26 64 26 61 62

Santiago Gonzalez/Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Sergio Galdos/Rodrigo Sanchez (PER) 62 61 61

Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Duilio Beretta (PER) 63 76(2) 46 63

Cesar Ramirez (MEX) v Mauricio Echazu (PER) – not played




CHILE defeated PARAGUAY 5-0

Venue: Club Palestino, Santiago, CHI (clay – outdoor)


Gonzalo Lama (CHI) d. Juan Borba (PAR) 63 60 61

Christian Garin (CHI) d. Gustavo Ramirez (PAR) 46 63 60 63

Jorge Aguilar/Paul Capdeville (CHI) d. Ramon Delgado/Gustavo Ramirez (PAR) 62 64 64

Jorge Aguilar (CHI) d. Juan-Carlos Ramirez (PAR) 64 62

Christian Garin (CHI) d. Juan Borba (PAR) 62 61



Venue: Country Club Cochabamba, Cochabamba, BOL (clay – outdoor)


Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) d. Federico Zeballos (BOL) 76(8) 76(4) 76(4)

Hugo Dellien (BOL) d. Andres Bucaro (GUA) 62 63 75

Hugo Dellien/Federico Zeballos (BOL) d. Andres Bucaro/Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) 76(3) 75 64

Hugo Dellien (BOL) d. Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) 63 36 62 46 62

Federico Zeballos (BOL) v Andres Bucaro (GUA) – not played





Venue: Philippine Columbian Association, Manila, PHI (clay – indoor)


Patrick-John Tierro (PHI) d. Aqeel Khan (PAK) 75 64 64

Ruben Gonzales (PHI) d. Samir Iftihkar (PAK) 64 63 61

Aqeel Khan/Aisam Qureshi (PAK) d. Ruben Gonzales/Treat Huey (PHI) 75 63 62

Aqeel Khan (PAK) d. Johnny Arcilla (PHI) 46 61 26 63 5-1 ret.

Aisam Qureshi (PAK) d. Patrick-John Tierro (PHI) 62 63 36 64


THAILAND defeated KUWAIT 4-1

Venue: The National Tennis Development Centre, Nonthaburi, THA (hard – outdoor)


Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Abdulhameed Alshatti (KUW) 60 60 60

Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) d. Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul (THA) 36 76(8) 76(4) 36 75

Pruchya Isarow/Nuttanon Kadchapanan (THA) d. Hasan Al Mousa/Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) 76(2) 75 63

Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) 62 76(12) 16 61

Warit Sornbutnark (THA) d. Ali Ghareeb (KUW) 63 64




SRI LANKA defeated VIETNAM 3-2

Venue: The 198 Tennis Club, Da Lat City, VIE (hard – outdoor)


Minh-Quan Do (VIE) d. Dineshkanthan Thangarajan (SRI) 63 64 64

Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Thien Nguyen Hoang (VIE) 62 63 62

Sharmal Dissanayake/Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Minh-Quan Do/Quoc-Khanh Le (VIE) 64 75 63

Thien Nguyen Hoang (VIE) d. Sharmal Dissanayake (SRI) 62 63 64

Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Minh-Quan Do (VIE) 63 75 60





Venue: Irene Country Club, Centurion, RSA (hard – outdoor)


Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Jean Andersen (RSA) 63 76(2) 63

Rik de Voest (RSA) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 76(5) 76(3) 26 76(4)

Jean Andersen/Raven Klaasen (RSA) d. Ricardas Berankis/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 36 63 63 76(5)

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Rik de Voest (RSA) 62 64 57 75

Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) d. Ruan Roelofse 76(5) 36 76(3) 64



Venue: Tali Tennis Center, Helsinki, FIN (hard – indoor)


Damir Dzumhur (BIH) d. Juho Paukku (FIN) 63 76(4) 64

Mirza Basic (BIH) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 36 76(3) 36 63 86

Henri Kontinen/Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Mirza Basic/Tomislav Brkic (BIH) 63 76(4) 62

Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 75 76(1) 61

Mirza Basic (BIH) d. Juho Paukku (FIN) 36 46 63 75 64


MOLDOVA defeated BELARUS 4-1

Venue: Manejul de Atletica Usoara, Chisinau, MDA (clay – indoor)


Radu Albot (MDA) d. Dzmitry Zhyrmont (BLR) 62 62 36 62

Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) d. Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) 75 76(5) 63

Egor Gerasimov/Max Mirnyi (BLR) d. Andrei Ciumac/Andrei Gorban (MDA) 63 62 60

Radu Albot (MDA) d. Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 36 16 63 61 62

Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) d. Dzmitry Zhyrmont (BLR) 76(3) 76(2)



Venue: Hillerod Tennis Klub, DEN (hard – indoor)


Martin Pedersen (DEN) d. Ugo Nastasi (LUX) 64 64 61

Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Mike Scheidweiler (LUX) 63 64 57 67(5) 61

Thomas Kromann/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Gilles Kremer/Mike Scheidweiler (LUX) 46 64 57 64 62

Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Ugo Nastasi (LUX) 64 36 62

Mikael Torpegaard (DEN) d. Christophe Tholl (LUX) 62 63




MONACO defeated NORWAY 5-0

Venue: Oslo Tennis Arena, Oslo, NOR (hard – indoor)


Benjamin Balleret (MON) d. Viktor Durasovic (NOR) 61 62 64

Romain Arneodo (MON) d. Joachim Bjerke (NOR) 76(7) 63 63

Guillaume Couillard/Thomas Oger (MON) d. Stian Boretti/Erling Tveit (NOR) 62 64 63

Benjamin Balleret (MON) d. Joachim Bjerke (NOR) 76(5) 64

Romain Arneodo (MON) d. Viktor Durasovic (NOR) 61 62


BULGARIA defeated GREECE 4-1

Venue: Ilioupoli Tennis Club, Athens, GRE (clay – outdoor)


Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) d. Markos Kalovelonis (GRE) 63 63 60

Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Theodoros Angelinos (GRE) 64 63 16 63

Grigor Dimitrov/Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Alexandros Jakupovic/Markos Kalovelonis (GRE) 76(4) 62 64

Alexandros Jakupovic (GRE) d. Dinko Halachev (BUL) 76(2) 61

Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Charalampos Kapogiannis (GRE) 57 60 61


IRELAND defeated EGYPT 3-2

Venue: Castleknock Tennis Club, Dublin, IRL (hard – indoor)


James McGee (IRL) d. Karim-Mohamed Maamoun (EGY) 60 63 62

Mohamed Safwat (EGY) d. Sam Barry (IRL) 36 75 75 76(5)

Sam Barry/James Cluskey (IRL) d. Sherif Sabry/Mohamed Safwat (EGY) 62 76(6) 62

James McGee (IRL) d. Mohamed Safwat (EGY) 75 64 63

Mazen Osama (EGY) d. Daniel Glancy (IRL) 76(4) 76(5)


MOROCCO defeated CYPRUS 4-1

Venue: Complexe Sportif Al Amal, Casablanca, MAR (clay – outdoor)


Sergis Kyratzis (CYP) d. Hicham Khaddari (MAR) 26 62 61 75

Lamine Ouahab (MAR) d. Petros Chrysochos (CYP) 63 64 64

Lamine Ouahab/Mehdi Ziadi (MAR) d. Petros Chrysochos/Rares Cuzdriorean (CYP) 76(6) 61 36 46 64

Lamine Ouahab (MAR) d. Sergis Kyratzis (CYP) 60 60 60

Ayoub Chakrouni (MAR) d. Constantinos Ioannides (CYP) 63 62



Davis Cup Draws Asia/Oceania Zone Group II

davis cup 2014

(February 13, 2014) The ITF has announced the draws for the two 2014 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone Group II first round ties taking place on 14-16 February.




Venue: The 198 Tennis Club, Da Lat City, VIE (hard – outdoor)


Quang-Huy Ngo (VIE) v Aqeel Khan (PAK)

Hoang Thien Nguyen (VIE) v Muhammad Abid (PAK)

Trinh Linh Giang/Quoc Khanh Le (VIE) v Aqeel Khan/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK)

Hoang Thien Nguyen (VIE) v Aqeel Khan (PAK)

Quang-Huy Ngo (VIE) v Muhammad Abid (PAK)




Venue: Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club, Phuket, THA (hard – indoor)


Warit Sornbutnark (THA) v Phillip King (HKG)

Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul (THA) v Ognian Kolev (HKG)

Pruchya Isarow/Nuttanon Kadchapanan (THA) v Phillip King/Ognian Kolev (HKG)

Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul (THA) v Phillip King (HKG)

Warit Sornbutnark (THA) v Ognian Kolev (HKG)


Serena and Venus Williams Win to Wrap Up Fed Cup World Group Spot for the U.S.


Venus Williams

Venus Williams

By Nathalie Narcisse

(April 21, 2013) DELRAY BEACH, Florida – On a day where tennis legend Chris Evert was lauded for Federation Cup accomplishments, it was fitting that dynamic duo, Serena and Venus Williams carried their matches to prevent the U.S. from slipping out of the world group.

In the first match at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, Serena crushed Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 6-1 while Venus hung tough against Johanna Larsson 6-3,7-5 to permit the Americans to compete for the Federation Cup title in 2014.

After Serena’s victory Saturday evening placed the U.S. on even terms with Sweden, captain Mary Joe Fernandez was hoping to maintain the momentum. The world number one did not disappoint.

In the early stages of the opening set, the sun seemed to be Serena’s biggest nemesis. She fought off three break points before finally putting a period on a long third game.

Subsequently, Serena manufactured triple break point and capitalized for 3-1. Then, with an ace, the world number one consolidated for 4-1. Serena went on to break Arvidsson a second time to bed the initial set.

Serena captured seven consecutive games before Arvidsson ultimately held in the sixth game of the second set to avoid posting a bagel. However, it was only a temporary reprieve. Soon, with her tenth ace, Serena arrived at triple match point. The world number one finished the proceedings with an unreturnable serve.

Overall a good performance by Serena considering the match lasted only 57 minutes, with 35 winners and 22 unforced errors. The third game in the first set was critical. Serena stated “if she had won that game, it would have been a tougher score or a different match. It was important for me to stay focused and fight for every point”.

While Serena does not use on court coaching with her WTA matches, she appreciates the support when it comes to team competition “it feels good, it’s different when you do call your coach on court. . .I take everything in, I just try to be like a sponge and listen”.

Since the sun was bothersome for both players, Arvidsson emphasized it was not a factor in her defeat “[Serena] was just too good. She showed why she’s number one”.

Serena was glad to see big sister in the position to seal the tie for the U.S. “Venus is a veteran and a great player. I hope she does really well”.

According to Fernandez, Venus was a “last minute decision . . after the warm-up today”, the gamble paid off.

Subsequent to a double fault to donate the opening game to Larsson, Venus regained her footing by promptly breaking herself. Later on, the American struck a forehand down the line winner up triple break point to capture he third successive game for 3-1. Despite being challenged, Venus consolidated for 4-1 and maintained the one break edge to finish off the first set.

Larsson warded off 0-40 to ultimately guard serve for 3-2 in the second set. Yet, with Larsson’s forehand pass landing long, Venus had her fifth break chance of the set. She converted when the Swede flubbed a backhand.

Soon with a hold at love, Venus raced to a 5-3 lead. However, with a love game of her own, the Swede forced Venus to serve out the match.

With a third double fault in the tenth game at 0-40, Venus opened the door for Larsson as the second set was now at 5 all.

Still, the American plugged away to regain the advantage. Serving for the tie the second time around, Venus went to nine deuces, had four double faults, salvaged three break points before striking gold on her eighth match point.

This was the maiden meeting between Venus and Larsson. The Swede was not surprised by the substitution “Sofia played a really good match yesterday. . .I was prepared mentally to play Venus. . .I was struggling the whole match to find a good rhythm. . I really tried to keep fighting”.

Despite the outcome, the Swedish coach felt “it’s the best experience you can ever have. [Johanna and Sofia] can keep [their] head up and be very proud. . .go back home with a lot of experience to use the rest of the year”.

After seeing a myriad of match points evaporate, Venus expressed “I was trying to stay focused. . .the game was very competitive, we were both going for the lines and missing them closely”.

Venus had not played Fed Cup singles since 2007. Ironically, the last time was also in South Florida. Moreover, Venus had never previously clinched the tie for her nation. The American cited “it’s a different kind of pressure being on a team, you just want to do more. I wanted to be out there”.

Venus felt a sense of relief wrapping thing up in straight sets “I needed it to be over in two. Mary Joe needed it to be over in two. She was having a heart attack on the sidelines”.

Now, the Americans will wait until next season to work together again in this format. Fernandez acknowledged “that’s the hardest thing about Fed Cup, the scheduling and how long it takes between the ties. You start building a chemistry with the team, a lot of bonding and you push each other. It’s fun. . .we’re still going to be watching each other, supporting each other. . .and we’ll regroup February of next year”.

With so many niggling physical issues, Fernandez withdrew her team from the doubles match. So, USA win over Sweden by a mark of 3-2.


Serena Williams Squares World Group Play-Off Tie versus Sweden


By Nathalie Narcisse


(April 20, 2013) DELRAY BEACH. Florida – After a three-hour setback due to showers at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, Serena Williams sauntered on court to face Swede Johanna Larsson. The world No. 1 dusted off her opponent 6-2, 6-2 to knot the tie between the two nations.

This was the first meeting between these two players. With Sofia Arvidsson vanquishing Sloane Stephens in the opening rubber, it was Williams’ job to prevent the U.S. team from going into a 2-0 hole.

Although, this was Williams’ seventh tie compared to Larsson’s thirty third, the difference though was that Williams was undefeated in Fed Cup play 11-0 and not to mention double digit majors titles.

Subsequent to Larsson’s double fault, Williams had double break point. With a crosscourt backhand winner, the American converted and swiftly consolidated for 3-0.

Despite a grueling game, Larsson guarded serve to stay one break behind at 3-1. Quickly, Williams coasted on serve to arrive at 5-2.

By provoking miscues from Larsson, Williams had double set point. With a backhand down the line winner, Williams bedded the first set.

The second set was not a cakewalk for Williams. In the opening game, the American’s mistakes on serve found her staring at 15-40. As usual, Williams selected the right serves to bail herself out of trouble. Her second time serving, Williams fended off another break point to keep her nose in front, 2-1.

While Larsson competed better, the unforced errors by Williams also began to mount. But, in the fourth game, two double faults by the Swede helped Williams to eventually get to deuce. Soon, with a forehand winner, the American had break point and later Williams pocketed the game for 3-1.

After comfortably getting to 5-2, the American captured another break to close out the match.

Considering the firepower on the American side, Swedish captain Lars-Anders Wahlgren is ecstatic with the performance of his players so far “it’s a little bit of a surprise for the Swedish team, it’s 1-1. I always believe in my girls. I was hoping for even 2-0”.

Despite the outcome, Larsson felt it was a great experience to battle a player of Williams’ caliber “it’s definitely an experience for me today. I had a lot of fun. . .I had a few chances. . When you play those players who are extremely aggressive, you really need to take your chances. . .I did my best and I was fighting the whole match”.

While for other competitors being down 0-1 in team play may cause some angst, Williams stated “I don’t feel pressure. Not this time around. . .I feel even though we didn’t win our first match, we have a really good team”.

Williams agreed that the second set was much tougher “I think she played a lot better. I think I also made more errors. She’s a really good player. She’s a professional. You can’t get on this level without being solid”.

Certainly, a different atmosphere and sensation representing yourself versus one’s country. Williams commented “I just try to fight and do the best I can. I’m here for my team. I’m here to give 100 percent”.

With Williams’ win, captain Mary Joe Fernandez was finally able to breathe “it was big for Serena to get a quick start. I thought the first match could have gone either way. Sloane had opportunities and wasn’t able to capitalize. . .conditions were tough and the rain delay sort of slowed her down because she had the momentum”.

A lot on the line tomorrow. Does Fernandez believe that Stephens will require tactical, mental support or both? Fernandez replied “every time you step on the court it’s a chance to get better and improve. When you have a few ups and down, you have to mentally get a little bit stronger. It helps when you are tactically sound and clear on what you need to do. So, I try to support and give as clear advice as I can on what I see out there and hope that works”.

The first match on Sunday afternoon will feature Williams against Arvidsson, followed by Stephens versus Larsson and will culminate with doubles play. The U.S. pair of Venus Williams and Vavara Lepchenko will collide with Larsson and Arvidsson.

Nathalie Narcisse is in Delray Beach covering the Fed Cup tie for Tennis Panorama News as media. Follow her twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN.


Arvidsson Stops Stephens to Give Sweden 1-0 Lead in World Group Play-Offs

Sofia Arvidsson

Sofia Arvidsson

By Nathalie Narcisse

(April 20, 1013) DELRAY BEACH, Florida – The U.S. took on Sweden on hardcourt at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in the World Group Play-Offs.  In the initial match on Saturday, Swedish veteran Sofia Arvidsson, playing her 48th tie, recorded her 34th singles victory.  Arvidsson prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 over twenty-year-old Sloane Stephens who was contesting her maiden live rubber.

Florida has been the United States’ Federation Cup lucky charm.  In three prior visits to the Sunshine State, 1995 versus Austria, 2005 and 2007 against Belgium, the Americans never relinquished a match.  With Floridians, Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams on hand, the Stars and Stripes were viewed as runway favorites.

Stephens seemed overwhelmed from the get-go.  As a result of a slew of miscues, the American surrendered her serve in the opening game.  Arvidsson went on to consolidate for 2-0.

Later on, the Swede dropped serve at love to permit Stephens to knot the first set at 2.  Soon with a hold, Stephens had a 3-2 lead.

However, a consistent opponent and 21 unforced errors turned out to be Stephens’ undoing.  Arvidsson broke for the third time for 5-4, then went on to easily serve out the opening set.

Stephens managed to reverse the tide in the second set.  Despite permitting a 3-0 advantage to melt away, Stephens cleaned up the stats sheet with a positive ratio of winners to unforced errors.  The American broke her rival at 5-4 to push the match into a final set.

The hot and humid conditions permitted both players to invoke the heat rule.  During that respite, a light drizzle came down which further postponed the deciding set.

The interlude appeared to squash Stephens’ momentum.  By committing a double fault, the American gifted Arvidsson double break point to start the set.  With Stephens dumping a forehand into the net, Arvidsson captured the break.  The Swede secured the four consecutive games as Stephens littered the court with mistakes.

In the sixth game, as Stephens’ forehand volley landed on her side of the net,  Arvidsson sealed her third break of the set to convert on her fourth match point opportunity.

Head-to-head, Arvidsson and Stephens split their two previous matches.  Unlike Brisbane earlier this year where Stephens “was dictating the points”, Arvidsson stated. “I tried to be aggressive.  That’s when I won my points”.

The rain was welcomed by Arvidsson “first set was really hard, I was kind of tired in the second.  I think the break was good for me.  It was a little cooler when we came out”.

For Arvidsson the opening match was crucial “first match is always important.  You want to win and put a lot of pressure on the other team.  [Particularly] with Serena a very big favorite in the second match”.

Stephens was disappointed with the result “she played really good tennis.  It was definitely tough conditions.  I thought I played pretty well.  It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get my first Fed Cup live rubber win at this home tie”.

Stephens admitted the pressure was not being the “lead off match.  I think it was playing my first live rubber at home. . .this is the most pressure and anxiety I’ve had since Australia. . .I didn’t want to let my team down”.

Still Stephens is trying to be positive “I’m going to go out for my team, hope Serena wins her match and we can start up with a bang tomorrow again. . . A lot to learn. . .my next tie I’ll definitely know what to expect”.

This is the fifth showdown between these two countries, the U.S. lead Sweden 3-1.  The latter triumphed at their ultimate meeting in 1988.  Sweden is vying to regain world group status for the first time since 2003.

Nathalie Narcisse is in Delray Beach covering the Fed Cup tie for Tennis Panorama News as media. Follow her twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN.