Mon, Feb 10, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan hold group spot, Australia in semis

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP

Taiwan beat Indonesia 2-0 in their Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I relegation playoff on Saturday at the National Tennis Center in Astana, Kazakhstan, to retain their place in the group.

Taiwan, who were playing without top players such as Hsieh Su-wei, Chan Yung-jan and Chang Kai-chen, struggled in Pool B, losing their matches against South Korea, Uzbekistan and China all by a 3-0 margin earlier in the week.

Taiwan finally got a much-needed victory when Yang Chia-hsien beat Tami Grende 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in the opening singles rubber, before Chan Chin-wei battled to a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 victory over Lavinia Tananta.

The dead doubles rubber was not played.

Indonesia were relegated to Asia/Oceania Group II following the loss and are to be replaced by Hong Kong, who won their promotion playoff 2-1 against the Philippines.

Hong Kong’s Eudice Chong defeated Anna Clarice Patrimonio of the Philippines 6-4, 6-1 in the first singles rubber, before Zhang Ling beat Marian Jade Capadocia 6-1, 6-4 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead.

In the Group I promotion playoff, Thailand defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 to advance to the World Group II playoffs in April.

In yesterday’s Fed Cup action, Australia stormed into the semi-finals for the first time in 21 years with a commanding 4-0 performance spearheaded by two Samantha Stosur wins and a comprehensive doubles display.

Stosur, the world No. 16 and 2011 US Open champion, needed exactly one hour to see off 158-ranked teenager Victoria Kan in a straight sets 6-2, 6-3 win over the 18-year-old Fed Cup debutante to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead over Russia.

“I’m very, very happy. She [Kan] can do a lot of different things, she does everything nicely and when she gets older and a little bit more strong I’m sure that will all come together,” Stosur said.

Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua sealed a clean sweep of the Russians with an emphatic 6-1, 6-3 doubles win over Irina Khromacheva and Valeria Solovyeva. Dellacqua said she and Barty had both had a “great week.”

“We are going to play a lot together. Last year, she was only a baby, but she’s 18 soon, she’s becoming an adult and we’re going to play a lot together and hopefully continue to improve on what we did last year,” Dellacqua said.

Australia last made the Fed Cup semi-finals in 1993 and they have not beaten Russia since 1983.

They will meet either Germany or Slovakia next, with the Germans currently holding a 2-0 advantage in their tie in Bratislava.

Australia team captain Alicia Molik was delighted with the result.

“The Fed Cup is always a week to get the best out of each other. The support the players give each other has been fantastic this week and I want the girls to continue like this for the rest of the year,” she said.

Australia went into yesterday’s round with a commanding 2-0 lead after Dellacqua downed Irina Khromacheva, the only one of the four Russians who has competed in the world team event before, in straight sets.

Stosur then dispatched little-known 16-year-old Veronika Kudermetova — ranked 650th in the world — 6-4, 6-0.

She had been due to meet Khromacheva yesterday, but Russia reshuffled its line-up to send top-ranked Kan in against the dominant Australian. Russia, last year’s losing finalists, are without their big names for the clash at the Domain Tennis Centre in Hobart, missing their top 13 players.

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