Dulko rested as Argentina wins opener with ease
Argentina and Colombia complied with the form book to emerge triumphant after the first day of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Group Zone I in the traditional surroundings of the Argentina Tennis Club in Buenos Aires.
Bettina Fulco, who was making her debut as captain of the host nation, decided to go without Gisela Dulko for the opening day’s play, because the newly-crowned Australian Open women’s doubles champion (alongside Italy’s Flavia Pennetta) had still not overcome her jetlag nor was she accustomed to the clay courts.
“It’s still difficult, it’s a fight,” said a smiling Dulko, who spent the first day training on a practice court.
“The doctors told me you recover one hour of sleep each day and there is a 14-hour time difference with Melbourne, so there just isn’t time,” said Fulco. “We’re hoping that she feels better and can play tomorrow; she also hasn’t played on clay since Roland Garros, so that’s something to bear in mind.”
Maria Irigoyen, Dulko’s replacement, took a little while to get used to her new role as a singles player but established a 2-0 lead over Bolivia with a 75 60 victory against Maria Fernanda Alvarez.
Earlier in the day, under the watchful gaze of Gabriela Sabatini and Paola Suarez, two of the most important players in the history of Argentine tennis, Florencia Molinero had scored the first point with a 64 63 win against Maria Ines Deheza.
In the doubles, which was still played despite the tie being over, Molinero and Mailen Auroux overcame Alvarez and Maria Paula Deheza, sister of Maria Ines, 76(4) 61.
Duque Marino tested
In Group B, Colombia comfortably defeated Mexico 3-0, with veteran Catalina Castaño scoring the first victory against Nazari Urbina 61 63.
Later, Mariana Duque Marino, the No. 1 singles player for Colombia, was put to the test in the first set, but finally found her game to overcome Ximena Hermoso 46 60 63.
In the doubles, Duque Marino and Karen Emilia Castiblanco Duarte defeated sisters Laila and Nadia Abdala 36 63 62.
Today, Colombia takes on Chile, which fell to Brazil 2-1. In the first round, Roxana Waisenberg beat Andrea Koch 75 75, Ana Clara Duarte overcame the promising Camila Silva 75 61. The Chileans scored the decisive point in the doubles, Silva and Koch defeating Alves and Teliana Pereira 16 61 62.
In the other match on Thursday, Brazil will play Mexico.
Young guns get underway
The Peruvian team is the youngest in the competition, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a good chance to win the title: the first day ended with a 2-1 victory against Paraguay.
Patricia Ku, who is 17 years old, maintained her unbeaten record in Fed Cup singles play (five victories so far) with a 62 64 win against Montserrat Gonzalez. Bianca Botto, who is 19 years old, defeated Veronica Cepede 64 61.
In the doubles, Gonzalez and Cepede overcame Botto and Ximena Siles Luna 36 63 64.
Today, Peru faces Bolivia, while Argentina takes on Paraguay.
The Americas Group Zone I is a round-robin competition where all teams play against each other and on Saturday the top two teams from the two groups play each other in the final for a right to play in the World Group II play-offs.
Argentina defeated Bolivia 3-0
Florencia Molinero (ARG) d. Maria Ines Deheza (BOL) 64 63
Maria Irigoyen (ARG) d. Maria Fernanda Alvarez (BOL) 75 60
Mailen Auroux / Florencia Molinero (ARG) d. Maria Fernanda Alvarez / Maria Paula Deheza (BOL) 76(4) 61
Peru defeated Paraguay 2-1
Patricia Ku (PER) d. Montserrat Gonzalez (PAR) 62 64
Bianca Botto (PER) d. Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) 64 61
Montserrat Gonzalez / Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) d. Bianca Botto / Ximena Siles Luna (PER) 36 63 64
Colombia defeated Mexico 3-0
Catalina Castano (COL) d. Nazari Urbina (MEX) 61 63
Mariana Duque Marino (COL) d. Ximena Hermoso (MEX) 46 60 63
Karen Emila Castablanco Duarte / Mariana Duque Marino (COL) d. Laila Abdala / Nadia Abdala (MEX) 36 63 62
Brazil defeated Chile 2-1
Roxane Vaisemberg (BRA) d. Andrea Koch (CHI) 75 75
Ana Clara Duarte (BRA) d. Camila Silva (CHI) 75 61
Andrea Koch / Camila Silva (CHI) d. Maria Fernanda Alves / Teliana Pereira (BRA) 16 61 62
- Americas Zone Group I