SEVILLE, SPAIN: Just 51 minutes of tennis were played on the second day of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group clash between Spain and Czech Republic in Seville.
A rain-interrupted first day saw Carla Suarez Navarro put the hosts 1-0 up when she defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 61 64, but the weather wreaked havoc once more on Sunday.
A bright morning offered a glimpse of hope for both teams, as Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor and Czech Republic’s Klara Zakopalova took to court at the scheduled time of 0900 GMT.
Zakopalova went into the match ranked 34 places higher than her 21-year-old opponent, but Tita – as she is known around these parts – won their only previous meeting in Tokyo last year.
It was the 31-year-old Zakopalova who got off to the better start, breaking in the first game of the match with impressive tennis from the back of the court. But it didn’t take long for Torro-Flor to find her rhythm and when she did it was easy to see why Conchita Martinez had only one day previously referred to her as the future of Spanish tennis.
The Spanish No. 2 broke back to love in the next game and the pair exchanged breaks until the sixth game when Zakopalova, who was contesting her first singles rubber in eight years, finally held to go 4-2 up.
Torro-Flor bounced back with a hold of her own, but the damp clay was beginning to soak up the pace of her shots and Zakopalova started to take advantage.
The energy and focus the Spanish player demonstrated at the start of the match began to wane amid the ever-increasing rain fall and when she needed to hold to stay in the first set she faltered, dropping the opener 6-3.
Zakopalova continued to pile on the pressure at the beginning of the second set, holding in the opening game before letting rip with a backhand down-the-line winner to break for a 2-0 lead. That was the last shot of the day as referee Andreas Egli waved the players off court and the heavens opened once more.
The second rubber will continue at 0900 GMT tomorrow but that’s the only certainty.
If Zakopalova can wrap things up quickly, a short break is expected before the start of the third rubber.
However, if Torro-Flor can mount a comeback and play continues for a prolonged time, the referee will likely decide to play the third and fourth rubbers concurrently on different courts.
While neither captain was willing to divulge any thoughts on potential nomination changes ahead of the third and fourth rubber, Conchita Martinez said her players will be ready to deal with anything.
“This is normal for them,” said the Spanish captain. “They are capable and they know what they have to do.
“Everyone is saying tomorrow the weather will be better. This will make the match [between Torro-Flor and Zakopalova] completely different because today Tita didn’t have enough depth on her shots. If the sun is out and the court is drier the ball will move faster.”
Martinez added that she will call upon former French Open champion Albert Costa to help out with coaching duties if the third and fourth rubber have to be played at the same time. Costa led the Spanish Davis Cup side to two team titles during his three years in charge.
Petr Pala said his team were very frustrated with how the last two days have played out. “I hope we can close up the tie no matter which way it goes,” the Czech captain said.
“I hope it’s going to go our way but hopefully we can finish it tomorrow, that’s the most important thing.”
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