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26 September 2012

BLOG: Junior Fed Cup Day 2


MATCH REPORT

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicLea Gasparovic (GER)

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BARCELONA, SPAIN:

19:07 The final recap of the day from Sandra Harwitt is already available:

When the second day of play was over on Wednesday at the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Finals by BNP Paribas at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona the most drama occurred in the girls’ competition.

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15:54 The 16-year-old Egyptian Fed Cup team player Dona Abo Habaga has been talking to Sandra Harwitt about her experience at the Junior Fed Cup finals.

Watching is wonderful enough

For the second day in a row, Dona Abo Habaga sits patiently watching her Egyptian teammates Mayar Sherif and Sandra Samir play matches. As she sits in the stands she has earbuds in her ears and is listening to music.

“English songs,” said Abo Habaga, when asked what she’s listening to on her iPhone. “Clay Aiken, Rihanna, sometimes Arabic songs.”

The 16-year-old is the third member of the Egyptian Fed Cup squad and has not seen action in two days of play. But she doesn’t really mind because there’s great value to being on her first tennis trip abroad.

“It’s good to watch the best two players in any country and how they’re playing,” Abo Habaga said.

Abo Habaga, who has an ITF combined ranking of No. 479, comes from a traditional family and wears a hijab -- head covering -- even when playing. “Yes, my family is Muslim and it’s not hard to play with it,” she said, smiling.

The Egyptian teen followed her older brother, Sherif, 18, into the sport. Sherif Abo Habaga currently has an ITF combined ranking of No. 471.

“My father saw tennis on TV and liked the sport,” Abo Habaga said. “I start playing when I was four at our club, Ahly, in Egypt.”

For now, Abo Habaga is being excused from classes at school back in Cairo. But when she heads home she’ll return to school with the memories of a trip of a lifetime for a junior player.

Egyptian Fed Cup coach, Hani Nasser, said he hasn’t yet decided whether Abo Habaga will get time on the court beyond practice yet, which will be determined by how the team fares.

But he said that while Dona comes from a more traditional background than the other two girls on the team there’s no discerning differences between the girls. “She’s just like any other 16-year-old,” said Nasser, smiling.

15:40 The Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup photo gallery has been updated with photos from today's Fed Cup ties Italy vs Japan and Germany vs South Africa and Davis Cup France vs Peru. You can check it out here.

13:56 Sandra Harwitt has written this blog article about the famous faces today at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona.

12:41 Albert Costa, the former Spanish Davis Cup captain, is at the Real Club de Polo today to watch today's Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup action. You can listen to his thoughts about the competition in the audio interview at the bottom of this Live Blog.

Albert Costa's Junior Highlights:

1991 represented Spain in the NEC World Youth Team Cup Finals

1993 French Junior Open runner-up

1993 European Junior Champs U18 winner

1993 Orange Bowl winner

09:30 Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup

It’s second day action at the 2012 Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup finals by BNP Paribas at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona.

Undoubtedly, it will be another busy day of tennis on the courts as 16 teams will take to the courts to show off their talents. The draw has four groups of four nations for the round-robin portion of the competition. In Wednesday’s action, the winners of each group play the losers from the other match in their foursome.

The USA Junior Fed Cup team had a great first round by beating Spain, the host nation, 3-0. This is a particularly notable win in that while the USA has a higher ranked field -- world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend is an American -- the Spaniards are far more adept at competing on the red clay that barely even exists in the USA. In fact, Spain’s Sara Sorribes stretched Townsend to three long sets before the American walked off with the match win.

In today’s action the USA will take on Korea, who fell to Egypt 3-0 in first day competition on Tuesday. On paper at least, this should be another 3-0 outing for the Americans, but until it plays out there’s no guarantees.

Another girls’ team to keep an eye out for is Latvia. It’s the country’s first appearance in this spectacular junior competition but they are seeded fourth. They scored a 3-0 win over Mexico in first day action, but everyone of their matches went a long three sets and they were the last team on the court as dusk was settling in over Barcelona last night.

Latvia will take on Paraguay, who went down 1-2 to No. 6 seeds Australia on Tuesday, but played the nation from Down Under closely.

 

Round Robin Groups

(click on the group for standings and results)

Junior Fed Cup

GROUP A: (1) USA, Spain, Korea and (7) Egypt

GROUP B: (3) Brazil, Japan, Belarus and (5) Italy

GROUP C: (4) Latvia, Mexico, Paraguay and (6) Australia

GROUP D: (2) Russia, Germany, South Africa and (8) China

Junior Davis Cup

GROUP A: (1) USA, Brazil, Japan and (7) Russia

GROUP B: (3) Australia, Morocco, Spain and (6) Argentina

GROUP C: (4) France, Mexico, Peru and (5) Korea

GROUP D: (2) Italy, Egypt, China and (8) Sweden

Scorecards

Albert Costa - Former Spanish Davis Cup Captain and player

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