GIZA, EGYPT: Hosts Egypt battled through two tight singles to seal victory over Cyprus in their first round-robin match in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group III. Menna el Nagdy needed just over two hours to see off a spirited showing by 15-year-old Mara Argyriou, 64 46 60.
Magy Aziz also needed three sets to dispatch Fed Cup debutant Jonna Nena Savva, 64 46 63. Aziz, playing in her 27th tie, finished the stronger of the two players to give Egypt a win in their opening tie of the week. They are bidding for a return to the promotional play-off where last time out they lost to South Africa in a bid to reach Zone Group II.
The other beaten finalists in the race for promotion last season, Tunisia, had a much easier time of their first tie as they triumphed against Moldova. Nour Abbes and Ons Jabeur each won both their singles matches before teaming together to complete the whitewash in the doubles.
The two young Tunisians have shown good form since their nation returned to Fed Cup action last year after a five year absence and will be looking to go one better than last year. Paired with Egypt in Pool B, the winner of the group will probably be decided in the tie between the two.
The final match in Pool B went to Lithuania, with their greater experience, against Namibia who are returning for the first time since 2006. Joanna Eidukonyte and Lina Stanciute, both of whom hold a Tour ranking, lost just a single game each in their singles against Carita Moolman and Lesedi Jacobs respectively.
They then showed their depth in the doubles bringing in Justina Mikulskyte to partner Stanciute against Jacobs and Moolam, the Lithuanians coming out on top 62 60. Lithuania will now play Moldova on Tuesday while Namibia face Egypt. The final match tomorrow in Pool B will be Tunisia versus Cyprus.
In Pool A, last year’s Zone Group II relegated nation Morocco sat out the first day leaving Armenia as the highest ranked nation in action. They had the relatively easy task of dismissing Kenya, who have won just two Fed Cup ties in their history both against Cyprus.
Anna Movsisyan and world No. 536 Ani Amiraghyan for Armenia produced clinical displays in the singles rubbers both winning in less than 45 minutes. Nune Khachatryan and Movsisyan then teamed up for the doubles producing an equally impressive performance to see off Caroline Oduor and Michelle Onyancha, 60 61.
Ireland’s Sinead Lohan and Malta’s Elaine Genovese produced one of the matches of the day as Lohan came out the victor in a see-saw battle, 64 16 62. The 17-year-old was playing in just her second Fed Cup rubber having previously lost to Nour Abbes last year. However, she showed greater composure than her opponent despite her inferior experience to give Ireland the upper-hand.
Amy Bowtell, who has moved inside the Top 500 since the start of the year, then continued her good form beating Roseann Dimech, 60 62. Ireland will now be hoping to learn from their 2011 Fed Cup campaign when after winning their opening tie they lost the next three ties and finished in fourth place in their pool.
Morocco opens their campaign tomorrow against Kenya while Armenia will face Malta in the other tie from Pool A as Ireland sit out for the day.
Click the link below for more information about Europe/Africa Zone Group III, including individual results from each tie.
- Europe/Africa Zone Group III