CATANDUVA, BRAZIL: It took only four straight sets for Switzerland to deal a strong blow to Brazil’s confidence in their Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II play-off tie. Everyone in Catanduva was hoping for a close battle, but since Timea Bacsinszky took control in the first match of the opening day, nobody could stop the Swiss team.
Brazil was maybe hoping to take advantage of 17-year-old Belinda Bencic’s lack of experience to finish the opening day of the tie in a better position, but that never happened. Although the teenager started the match against Paula Cristina Goncalves losing serve, she managed to hold nerve and find the path to give Switzerland a 2-0 lead.
Bencic was never disturbed by the home crowd’s vociferous support nor even by the aggressive game of Goncalves. The youngster managed to stay in points as much as she could, force her opponent into mistakes and look for opportunities when the Brazilian’s consistency dropped.
The Swiss only dropped serve that one time in the match and broke the opponent’s serve twice in the first set and twice in the second set to score a 63 63 win in one hour and 13 minutes, committing only 10 unforced errors against 26 from her opponent.
“Consistency was definitely the key to win. I tried not to make anything special, just hold the ball on court and stay aggressive”, Bencic said.
Goncalves, who was unbeaten in the Fed Cup until facing Bencic, admitted she felt the pressure to play in front of the home crowd after the Brazilian No. 1 Teliana Pereira failed to give their team the first point of the tie.
“I felt a little nervous in the match, maybe because we never play in front of so many people at home, I don’t know. Bencic got on court a little nervous too, but then she started to feel more comfortable than me on court. Now our chances are smaller, but we shouldn't stop fighting until the very end. On Sunday we have to possibility to overcome Switzerland if we manage to play our best”, said Goncalves almost crying.
Earlier, Bacsinszky disappointed the Brazilian crowd after they were expecting their No. 1 player win the opening match of the tie, but the Swiss overcame a slow start to beat Teliana Pereira in straight sets, 63 63, in one hour and 22 minutes.
Under a hot sun with temperatures reaching 32 degrees Celsius and a slow clay court, both players struggled to take advantage of their service. Bacsinszky broke Pereira’s serve eight times in eleven opportunities while the Brazilian took all five of her chances.
"There is some altitude here, so the balls are flying a lot. And the player on return was always putting a lot of pressure on the opponent’s serve. So, it was very difficult to hold service. At least, I knew I was very solid on my returns”, said Bacsinszky.
Bacsinszky scored 22 winners - four of them on the return of serve - against only five from her opponent. “I tried to be aggressive from the very beginning, but it took me a while to find rhythm. Then I started to play very well and I am very happy the way the match ended”, the Swiss said.
Pereira confirmed her service only once, in the first game of the match. She won only 33 percent of the points at her first service - Bacsinszky won 68 percent - and couldn’t manage to hold on to an early 3-1 lead.
“My whole game didn’t work today. I don’t know what happened. Yesterday I was playing well on practice, but today it was completely different. I have to forget this match as fast as I can, wipe the tears from my face and move on”, Pereira said.
Brazilian captain Carla Tiene will have plenty of work to motivate her team for the reverse singles after a crushing opening day.
“I have already started to talk to the girls that they lost to their emotions. They couldn't feel comfortable on court and play their games. Now they should try to enjoy every lasting moment and fight for every ball left. It became difficult to win now, but it is possible”, she said.
Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live
Belinda Bencic (SUI) - 19/04/2014
Captain Heinz Guenthardt (SUI) - 19/04/2014
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) - 19/04/2014
Paula Cristina Goncalves (BRA) - 19/04/2014
Teliana Pereira (BRA) - 19/04/2014