HUMACAO, PUERTO RICO: With victories in both of their singles matches, the teams from Chile and Bolivia finished on top of Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group II which finished on Sunday evening at the Palmas Athletic Club in Palmas del Mar in Humacao, Puerto Rico.
The Chileans, who had come from behind in the decisive doubles against Puerto Rico on Saturday, had fewer problems on Sunday in dispatching Costa Rica in the two singles rubbers and ensuring their promotion to Zone Group I.
Meanwhile, Bolivia had a much more difficult path to promotion, after recovering in the opening singles rubber and seeing the second singles rubber go all the way to a third set tiebreak.
In the first singles rubber between the second players from each nation, Andrea Koch easily overcame Costa Rican Andrea Brenes 61 62.
“I felt super comfortable, to tell the truth. I think I played well and yesterday’s match helped me with my rhythm and with my confidence that I can play better tennis, which meant a lot," said Koch. “We do everything we can to win. I concentrated on my own game and I played well. That’s why I did what I did today."
The South Americans’ best player, Daniela Seguel, ranked No. 260 in the WTA rankings, claimed to decisive point for Chile with a 64 63 victory over Ariana Rahmanparast.
“Mission accomplished," proclaimed Seguel. “We came in focussed on winning and gaining promotion to Group I and we are very happy to have done that.
“The truth is that this is my first Fed Cup appearance and it was a huge responsibility. Thanks to God I was able to win my matches and we could play happily today, despite being tired. The honour of representing our country gives us strength and courage."
“We aimed for promotion and we achieved that thanks to the strength of the girls. Yesterday we had another final and playing at that level against Puerto Rico prepared us for the matches today," commented the Chilean captain Belus Prajous. “These girls understand that representing your country is something else, something you don’t get to do every day and because of this, they give their all in every match to drive the nation forward."
Bolivia had a much more difficult tie against a battling Dominican Republic side who gave a great account of themselves in both singles defeats.
In the opening rubber, Bolivia’s Daniela Ruiz had to fight back from 5-2 down in the opening set but forced a tiebreak which she won 7-5 and then defeated Michelle Valdez 76(5) 61.
“I started playing very poorly, but in the second set I raised my game to another level, changed my strategy and was able to come out on top," explained Ruiz. “Because we didn’t know much about her, we had a plan but it wasn’t working, but after a while we noticed that her forehand wasn’t as strong if she was returning a slice, she was overcomplicating and that helped us. I played the rest of the match well and came out on top."
Then, Maria Fernanda Alvarez was forced to play a long, tough match in order to give her nation the promotion. Bolivia’s No.1 battled for two hours and six minutes before finally defeating Dominican Francesca Segarelli 62 36 76(2).
“For me, this is very important. We came here looking for promotion although we knew that it would be very difficult because there were some very strong teams," commented Alvarez. “I hadn’t played Fed Cup in two years and returning to play for my country has given me great pride. It has been very tough because there has always been one person leading the team and this time it was me, which puts me in a uniquely pressured position. I didn’t play my best tennis but we were able to win our matches which is the most important thing."
The Bolivian captain, Rolando Nieva, said: “We are very happy because although we came looking for promotion, it was very difficult once the competition started. The girls adapted very well, they were at their peak physically, mentally and emotionally. They represented themselves fantastically and left everything on the court. We are going home happy and it is definitely mission accomplished."
The Dominicans won the doubles rubber when Glenny Cepeda and Karla Portalatin defeated Hortencia Birnbaumer and Anelisse Torrico 62 64 but the tie finished 2-1 to Bolivia.