Big names star in Fed Cup zonal ties
While some of the world’s best prepare for Fed Cup World Group and World Group II ties this weekend, action in the regional zones got under way around the world on Wednesday.
A host of top 100 players are in action in the Europe/Africa Zone Fed Cup Group 1 held in Tallinn, Estonia, this week with the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Agnes Szavay, Victoria Azarenka, Kaia Kanepi, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sorana Cirstea pulling on team colours.
The round-robin Fed Cup format, which consists of 15 teams divided into four pools, sees Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Belarus, Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Estonia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Bulgaria, Great Britain and Poland fight it out for promotion into World Group II.
The four pool winners will play off on Saturday with the two winning nations advancing to the World Group II Play-offs in April 2009.
The Pool C clash between Denmark and Belarus threw up an intriguing meeting between top 20 stars Wozniacki and Azarenka on day one of the round robin action.
Despite the Danes boasting the world No.13 among their ranks, however, they couldn’t find a win. Wozniacki easily got past Azarenka 6-3, 6-3 to level the tie at 1-1, before the Belarussians took the doubles to notch up a 2-1 victory.
Pool A saw a convincing performance from Great Britain who dispatched Hungary 3-0. Anne Keothavong continued her early season form to see off Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-3, 6-2. Elena Baltacha was equally comprehensive in her win over Greta Arn while the doubles pairing of Sarah Borwell and Mel South wasted no time recording a straight-sets victory.
Elsewhere, Poland edged past Romania 2-1 as Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska beat Sorana Cirstea and Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-4, 6-0 in the deciding rubber.
Poland play Bosnia and Herzegovina in the next match who lost convincingly to Sweden 3-0 in their first tie of the week.
Hosts Estonia demolished Bulgaria 3-0 in Pool D and will hope to secure top spot in their group with a win over Croatia in Thursday’s contest.
In the Asia/Oceania Zone, held in Perth this week, Australia continued their impressive form to triumph over a strong Thailand team.
Comeback kid Jelena Dokic put the hosts ahead with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Suchanun Viratprasert while World No.43 Samantha Stosur rebounded from a 6-4, 5-2 deficit against Tamarine Tanasugarn to seal the tie for Australia.
Australia will play Taiwan next for a place in Saturdays final while Pool A favourites New Zealand are on course for a final place after wins over India and Uzbekistan.
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