Taiwan face relegation after Fed Cup whitewash

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP

Sun, Feb 09, 2014 - Page 20

Taiwan on Friday lost 3-0 to China, the team’s third straight rout in Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I, Pool B, following 3-0 defeats to South Korea and Uzbekistan at the National Tennis Center in Astana, Kazakhstan, to finish bottom of the pool with a dismal 0-9 record.

China’s Wang Qiang defeated Taiwan’s Yang Chia-hsien 6-1, 7-5 in the opening singles rubber, before Zhang Shuai crushed Taiwan’s Juan Ting-fei 6-0, 6-0 in the second singles.

In the doubles, China’s Wang and Zhang defeated Taiwan’s Juan and Lee Ya-hsuan 6-2, 6-2 to complete the rout.

In the other Pool B match on Friday, Uzbekistan defeated South Korea 2-1 to set up a playoff for promotion to World Group II with Pool A winners Thailand, who beat hosts Kazakhstan 2-1 to claim top spot.

Taiwan yesterday faced a relegation playoff against Pool A’s bottom side Indonesia, who lost both their pool matches 3-0, that would see the losers relegated to Asia/Oceania Group II.

Meanwhile, Australia took a firm grip on their Fed Cup first-round tie against a young and inexperienced Russian team yesterday, racing to an easy 2-0 lead.

The Russians, losing finalists last year, have been shorn of their big names for the clash at the Domain Tennis Centre in Hobart, missing their 13 top players, and the home team took full advantage.

World No. 16 Samantha Stosur saw off unknown 16-year-old Veronika Kudermetova, ranked 650th in the world, 6-4, 6-0.

Earlier, Casey Dellacqua put Australia 1-0 in front with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Irina Khromacheva, the only one of the four Russians who has competed in the world team event before, stepping into the second singles spot when Russia lost to Italy in last year’s final.

Russia, boasting better players, have won the last three meetings between the two nations, but Australia are now in the box seat to make their first Fed Cup semi-final since 1993.

“We’ve definitely got to stay focused up until we get that third win,” said Stosur, who did not have it all her own way against Kudermetova. “There’s still nothing for them to lose.”

Kudermetova was the more impressive of the two Russians, regularly clocking serves over 180kph to keep Stosur on her toes before the Australian veteran’s experience came to the fore.

Russian captain Anastasia Myskina, a former world No. 2, said she believes the 16-year-old has a lot of promise.

“She can do very well,” Myskina said. “She looks when she plays like Maria [Sharapova] a little bit, also really aggressive, good serving, returning.”

Dellacqua is to face Kudermetova today, while Stosur is scheduled to meet Khromacheva. Ashleigh Barty and Dellacqua are to play the doubles leg against Victoria Kan and Valeria Solovyeva.