CURITIBA, BRAZIL: With an impeccable victory over Canada 3-0, the Argentine team took a step closer to finishing top of Pool A on day four of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I.
Argentina, who yesterday overcame Bahamas with ease, today returned to show they are a genuine candidate to earn the right to play off for a place in World Group II, as happened last year.
In the same pool, Peru easily saw off the challenge of Bahamas, winning 3-0 to become Argentina’s rival to finish top of their group on Friday.
In Pool B, Brazil comfortably defeated Bolivia 3-0 to keep their hopes of topping their pool alive, while Paraguay beat Venezuela 2-1.
Argentina looking like champions
Paula Ormaechea (No. 139 in the world) laid the foundation for an Argentine victory with a fabulous win over No. 84 Aleksandra Wozniak 75 64 in an intense two-hour match. In the second match, Florencia Molinero had less trouble overcoming Stephanie Dubois, ranked No. 87, 62 62.
To finish off the job, the doubles team of Maria Irigoyen and Mailen Auroux blew Sharon Fichman and Marie-Eve Pelletier off the court. With a excellent performance, the Argentines pulled through 60 63.
“It was easier than we anticipated,” said Argentine captain Bettina Fulco. “Luckily, Ormaechea and Molinero managed to beat two Top 100 players, which says a lot about our gilrs. We’re really happy with the victory because it gives us lots of confidence.”
Peru command respect on clay
With two victories in as many meetings, the recommendation to Fulco would not be to relax: “Tomorrow we play Peru and we know that Bianca [Botto] is playing really well. Fortunately we’ve got plenty of options in the doubles. The two girls are playing really well but we have the pair that won the Pan American Games: Molinero-Irigoyen."
Canada, who play Bahamas, the weakest team in the group, will have to hope Argentina trip up against Peru if they are to have any chance of qualifying. For now, they will be lamenting the weak performance of their main players, unaccustomed to the heat and slowness of the clay courts.
Brazil continue to make noises
With an easy win against Bolivia, Brazil have kept alive their dream of topping the group, but they will have to conquer Colombia – the toughest opponent in Pool B.
The hosts started to build a victory when 15-year-old Beatriz Haddad scored her first win in Fed Cup. Haddad defeated Nabila Farah 61 61 in 52 minutes to instil confidence in captain Eduardo Frick.
“I feel very comfortable. At first I was a bit nervous, but I overcame that. It’s really nice to wear the shirt of my country and to feel the support of my team and the public,” said the youngster.
In the second match, Roxane Vaisemberg also found little resistance against Noelia Zeballos, one of the rising stars of Bolivian tennis, and needed three minutes less than her team-mate to win 62 61.
In the doubles, Vivian Segnini and Ana Clara Duarte came through a close first set before defeating Farah and Zeballos 76(1) 61.
Colombia will be tough to beat
Brazil will take on Colombia, who today had a rest day but were still training hard under the instruction of Pablo Gonzalez. The captain trusts the experience of his top two players: Maria Duque and Catalina Castaño.
Duque y Castaño are the two names that worry the Brazilian captain: We have another tough match tomorrow,” he said. “Colombia have two very experienced players who were in the Top 100, but I trust my players and I think the crowd will play an important role.”
Peru win thanks to Bianca Botto
In the first rubber of the tie between Peru and Bahamas, Patricia Ku defeated Gabrielle Moxeley 61 61. In the second rubber, Botto won 76 63 against the young Simone Pratt.
In spite of the difficulties in overcoming Pratt, probably brought about by her marathon victory over the Canadian Dubois on Wednesday, Botto is an important card in the Peruvian pack to play Argentina on the clay courts of the Graciosa Country Club.
Captained by Percy Melzi, the task was finished in the doubles when Katherine Miranda and Ferny Angeles realised how to get past Nikkita Fountain and Larikah Russel 61 64.
“The girls were excellent today just as they were yesterday,” said Melzi. “Yesterday I think we lacked very little in our victory over Canada. We’ll see what happens against Argentina tomorrow. On clay they are the favourites, but our players have shown they can play to a really high level.”
Paraguay also know how to win
The day ended with a narrow victory for Paraguay over Venezuela 2-1, in which the star of Veronica Cepede shone brightly, winning her singles rubber before combining with Monserrat Gonzalez in the doubles.
The Venezuelans took the lead when Gabriela Paz, who after a slow start, raced away 63 60. Cepede levelled the scores by defeating Andrea Gamiz 64 60. In the decisive doubles rubber Cepede and Gonzalez came back from a first set deficit to win 26 64 63.
The clash between Brazil and Colombia will define the outcome of Pool B.
Click the link below for more information about Americas Zone Group I, including individual results from each tie.
- Americas Zone Group I