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31 January 2012

Americas Zone Group I: Tuesday



  • Patricio de la Barra

CURITIBA, BRAZIL: Colombia completely dominated the second day of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I, destroying Bolivia 3-0, while Paraguay, thanks to the fantastic performance of No. 212 Veronica Cepede, overcame Brazil much to the disappointment of the home fans at the Graciosa Country Club.

On the main court, spectators braved the fierce heat to cheer on their team in its attempt to qualify for the World Group II play-offs.

After an auspicious start, Rio de Janeiro’s Vivian Segnini comfortably overcame Paraguay’s Monserrat Gonzalez 60 62, helped by the local support, but what could have turned into a party took a turn for the worse.

In the face of local optimism, Veronica Cepede played her best tennis to defeat Roxane Vaisemberg 63 62 to draw the tie level ahead of the decisive doubles.

Pressure was key

Spurred on by the desire to win, the Brazilians were easy prey to the Paraguayan duo, who as well as playing better, capitalised on the unforced errors of their opponents, winning 63 64 in one hour.

“Unfortunately my team-mate didn’t play well in the first match. She lost quickly. Maybe that helped me because it took the pressure off me. In the doubles we started well. I continued to motivate my partner, who was on a bit of a downer, and we took control of the match. Now it’s time to celebrate,” said the heroine from the Guarani.

For Paraguay’s captain, Alfredo de Brix, it was an important victory: “Brazil, as well as being the local side, are a very good team.” On the performance of his players and their next opponents Colombia, de Brix was cautious: “Today Montserrat didn’t manage to play with freedom. Veronica played her best match of recent months. She only made a few errors, she served well, returned with certainty and made various winners. In the doubles they complemented each other very well. I prefer to be cautious about my analysis of our next opponents. Let’s see how the girls react tomorrow.”

For Brazil all is not lost

The Brazilians were obviously upset by the unexpected loss, but they know there is still plenty to play for. Roxane Vaisemberg said: “Today I didn’t play well and she was perfect. In the doubles we couldn’t close out the points to win games. But this has only just begun. We have to lift up our heads and look to tomorrow. There’s still hope for us.”

Visibly worried by the erratic play of his team, captain Eduardo Frick said that his team has much to work on. “Roxane didn’t have a good day in the singles,” he said. “In the doubles we had opportunities, but they played better. I think that nerves played their part but tomorrow we have a much more equal match-up against Venezuela.”

Colombia thrash Bolivia

On the neighbouring court, Colombia wasted little time in overcoming Bolivia 3-0 to put them top of their group.

In the first rubber, junior Yuliana Lizarazo, making her Fed Cup debut, defeated Nabila Farah 63 75. In the second match, Mariana Duque Mariño was flawless against Noelia Zeballos, winning 61 60. The doubles team of  Catalina Castaño and Mariana Duque then overcame Noelia  Zeballos and Nabila Farah 61 75.

With the humilty that characterises this Colombian team, they looked satisfied with the result, but made sure that everyone respects them and tomorrow they will look to play with the same determination against Paraguay.

“I think little by little we are getting better and growing in confidence. I believe that we are only playing at 50 per cent of our capacity. Tomorrow we have a difficult match against Paraguay, who are playing really well and showed that against Brazil,” said the experienced Catalina Castaño.

An unforgettable debut

The young Yuliana Lizarazo will never forget this day. It was her first match of the year, her first victory representing her country and her first as a professional. “It was a beautiful day,” she said. “It was my first match wearing the Colombian shirt. Fortunately we won and we can keep going, which is what is important.”  

Click the link below for more information about Americas Zone Group I, including individual results from each tie.

- Americas Zone Group I  

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      30 Jan 2012

      Colombia and Paraguay both got off to a winning start on Monday as Americas Zone Group I got underway in Curitiba




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