CURITIBA, BRAZIL: Much to the disappointment of the Brazilians, who harboured great hopes, Argentina and Colombia lived up to their billing as favourites and will fight for a place in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II play-offs.
Argentina overcame Peru 3-0, maintaining a 100 percent record by recording their third consecutive perfect scoreline. The blue and whites, captained by Bettina Fulco, started the last set of matches in their group with a pulsating victory by Paula Ormaechea over Peruvian Ferny Angeles 61 60 in 53 minutes.
Unable to call on the services of Bianca Botto. Peru’s captain Percy Milzi put forward Patricia Ku against the experienced Florencia Molinero, who had too much power for the girl from Lima, winning 75 64 in two hours eight minutes.
The Argentines finished their day’s work with an impressive double bagel - the doubles team of Maria Irigoyen and Mailen Auroux defeating Katherine Miranda and Angeles 60 60.
On leaving the court, Ormaechea recognized she hadn’t given her opponent any opportunities: “My game is like that, “ she said. “I go on the court and try to give my best and fight for every point.”
Happy to be top of their pool, captain Fulco was pleased with the performance of her players. “It makes me very happy to see Paula win. As is expected on these occasions, Florencia relaxed but also served well and took control of the match.”
And she was happy with her final opponent – Colombia. “I prefer the Colombians because we know them well,” she said. “And because they don’t have the Brazilian crowd behind them.”
Brazilian tears flood centre court
Fulco’s wish became a reality. With the Argentines through to the final, the drama of Brazil against Colombia unfolded. In one of the closest matches of the week, Brazil’s Vivian Segnini battled for three hours 16 minutes to break down the resistance of Catalina Castaño, who had two match points in her favour. With the support of the irrepressible home fans, the Brazilian won 63 57 76(4).
Needing to win at least one match, the Colombian captain Pablo Gonzalez put all his faith in Mariana Duque, who repaid his confidence with a 75 60 win against Roxane Vaisemberg.
With a place in the finals guaranteed, Gonzalez put forward the young Yuliana Lizarazo next to Duque in the doubles. The Colombians finished off their Pool play with a comfortable 62 63 win over Vaisemberg and Segnini, relegating Brazil to third place in Pool B.
Mariana used all her experience
“Our players played to the maximum,” said the Colombian captain. “The first point escaped us but then Mariana put us all at ease. Now we have to think about our game plan against Argentina, who we know well. I hope the girls recover well and we can have a good match.”
For Duque, who earned the all-important point to give the “cafeteras” a place in the final, it was important to cope with the pressure. “I walked on the court feeling really nervous because we had sadly lost the first match,” she said. “But little by little I found my rhythm and managed to win the match.”
While the Colombian team celebrated discretely in respect of the home fans, the latter found refuge in the arms of one another trying to find an explanation for the defeat. “I don’t know what happened,” said Segnini. “We had prepared well.”
Visibly upset, Eduardo Frick was sad not to be in the final. “I think that we were close,” he said. “Segnini had a great match against Catalina Castaño, which I think was probably one of the best Fed Cup matches I have seen. After that we switched off. Roxane played well until 4-1 and then it was as if there was a powercut.”
The group ties concluded with a long-awaited victory for Canada over Bahamas 3-0 and Venezuela defeated Bolivia by the same scoreline.
Canada will play Paraguay on Saturday for third place and the match-ups between Peru and Bolivia and Bahamas and Venezuela will determine who is relegated to Americas Zone Group II.
Click the link below for more information about Americas Zone Group I, including individual results from each tie.
- Americas Zone Group I