ALICANTE, SPAIN: Ukraine have a considerable fight on their hands on Sunday if they are to keep their hopes of a place in the World Group Play-offs alive after suffering two defeats to Spain in Alicante.
Making her tenth Fed Cup by BNP Paribas appearance, Lourdes Dominguez Lino secured Spain its first point in the opening rubber as the 31-year-old defeated Elina Svitolina 57 62 86 in front of a largely Spanish audience at the Club Atletico Montemar. While 18-year-old Svitolina appeared understandably frustrated by the result, Dominguez Lino was overjoyed to have put her country in the lead.
“This competition is different from the others because you get to play for your country, and that is a really beautiful thing,” said the Fed Cup veteran.
Silvia Soler-Espinosa increased Spain's confidence for Sunday still further, wrapping up the second rubber for her nation after defeating world No. 72 Tsurenko 75 64.
Tsurenko had taken Ukraine to the brink of a first ever appearance in the World Group semifinals last year with singles wins over Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani before her nation lost out in the decisive doubles rubber. But even with those memories still fresh, Tsurenko was unable to find a similar performance against the world No. 85, struggling to find an answer to Espinosa’s varied shots.
“I knew she would use the lob today but I just couldn't do anything about it,” admitted the 23-year-old Ukrainian.
Spain, meanwhile, had plenty to celebrate as they look to finish off the tie and deliver Conchita Martinez a win in her first tie as captain.
“I'm very proud of the way they fought and the way they played today,” said the former Wimbledon champion. “We are in a good position but we cannot relax, we are two points up but we still need one more. We must keep our concentration and focus.”
The five-time Fed Cup winner may have been through the ups and downs of the competition so many times before, but she admitted she still suffers from nerves.
“To tell you the truth I think it's worse sitting watching! But I'm used to the feeling as I have coached some of the team before.”
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Captain Conchita Martinez (ESP) - 09/02/2013