BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: The hosts took a commanding 2-0 lead on day one of their World Group II play-off against China after new No.1 Paula Ormaechea and 23-year-old Florencia Molinero both won their opening singles rubbers.
Ormaechea gave Argentina a perfect start by defeating No. 473 Yi-Mao Zhou 62 62 in just under one-and-a-half hours and then Molinero followed it up with a 63 64 victory over Qiang Wang.
The Chinese players, both of whom were making their Fed Cup singles debuts, were always going to be up against it with the home team's players taking a ranking advantage into each match-up.
Argentina are now set to return to World Group II after three years at zone level. China, who are in the same position, have it all to do if they are to earn promotion having battled through Asia/Oceania Zone Group I for the last two years to reach this stage.
A complete success
For Argentina, the first day was a complete success, any which way you look at it. On court, although nervous playing in front of their own crowd, Ormaechea and Molinero gave their country a vital lead going into tomorrow’s singles matches.
The joy continued in the stands, where 2,000 cheering fans made everything look colorful and set a record of attendance for a Fed Cup tie played in Buenos Aires. It is important to take into account that Gabriela Sabatini only played Fed Cup in Argentina once, but it was in the Province of Tucuman, in front of 4,500 people.
Furthermore, as they were not set to play today, the Argentine doubles team of Maria Irigoyen and Mailen Auroux joined the most cheerful fans on the stands to support Ormaechea and Molinero.
Anxiety all over
Even though the outcome was as expected for Argentina, it is also true that the Argentine players felt the anxiety of playing in front of a cheering crowd in such a big place for the first time.
“I think the match was a little weird, I felt too nervous, probably because it was my first time playing in front of so many people. There were also my family, my friends, everyone was here”, admitted No. 112 Ormaechea. “And of course it was the first match of the tie, so I wanted to do whatever it took to win. Fortunately I could make it to win, so I feel really happy”.
Likewise, Molinero had to overcome her own nerves to collect another Fed Cup victory that extend her winning streak to 8-0. “It was a tough match for me, tougher than I expected. I felt very nervous at the beginning, but at the end I played a good match and could give Argentina the second rubber. A 2-0 lead the first day is perfect for us,” said the 23-year-old.
“It was hard for me to play a World Group tie for the first time, in front of so many people, but I love to play Fed Cup, and I want to keep on playing in this competition.”
On the other hand, the Chinese girls couldn’t get the key to play on a slow clay court. “It was difficult for me because it is my first time playing outside China, and it was also challenging to play on a clay court. If we had played on a hard court, probably my performance could have been better,” said Yi-Miao Zhou.
Argentina are looking to return to World Group II after three years at zone level. China are in the same position, having battled through Asia/Oceania Zone Group I for the last two years to reach this stage.
Follow this tie with live scoring:
Yi-Miao Zhou (CHN) - 21/04/12
Paula Ormachea (ARG) - 21/04/12
Florencia Molinero (ARG) - 21/04/12