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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

US Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup Teams Blank Opponents on Day Two of Round Robin Play at National Campus

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Lake Nona, FL--

The second day of round robin play produced more of the same for the home country teams, with the top-seeded US boys cruising past Bolivia 3-0 and the second-seeded US girls shutting out Korea on a hot and sunny day at the USTA's National Campus.

Martin Damm, the No. 1 singles player for the US, got the day off, with Dali Blanch getting his second win of the week at No. 2 singles with a 6-0, 6-1 thumping of Ernesto Requena, and Toby Kodat clinching it with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Agustin Cuella. Blanch and Kodat then completed the sweep with a 6-1, 6-3 decision over Requena and Santiago Navarro in doubles.

Junior Fed Cup captain Jamea Jackson also made a change in her lineup for the second day, with Robin Montgomery, who played only doubles on the first day, taking the No. 2 singles spot, after Connie Ma had played there on Tuesday.  Montgomery defeated Ji Min Kwon of Korea 6-1, 6-1, but if you saw the match on Tennis Channel, you know she had to work for it, with Montgomery taking most of the many multiple deuce games. Connie Ma, the No. 1 singles player today, had less difficulty against Bo Young Jeong, taking a 6-1, 6-2 decision to clinch the win for the US. Montgomery and Scott defeated Jeong and Hyeongju Han 6-1, 6-1 in the doubles match.

Ma rarely plays ITF Junior Circuit events, with most of her competitive match play coming either during school breaks or the summer. But the fact that she was competing for the national team in an international championship made getting out of school for this event a bit easier.

"When I told my teachers I was competing for USA, they were like, yeah, that's pretty cool," said the 16-year-old from Dublin California. "It got them excited too. My math teacher was like, send me the link if they're live streaming it or putting it on TV."

Ma doesn't play much on the Har-Tru surface that is being used at this event, so she was grateful to have a week of preparation at the National Campus prior to this week's competition.

"There are a couple of clay courts back in California, but I don't really play on them," Ma said. "Playing on clay, you obviously need an adjustment and you have to be willing to work harder for points."

Ma's ITF junior ranking is 322, which is quite low when compared to those who play ITF events more regularly, with seven girls competing this week, including her two teammates, in the ITF Top 50.

"Rankings don't show the full extent of someone's skill," said Ma, who reached the final of the ITF Grade 1 in Carson during her spring break. "Someone may just not play tournaments, but they can be really good. I don't really play ITF tournaments, which is I guess why my ranking isn't that high. But I don't think that affects me; when I play someone, I don't know their ITF ranking, and it's not a factor when I play."
Temperatures in the low 90s were a challenge throughout the afternoon.
Only one of the eight girls ties went to a deciding doubles match, with Morocco defeating Serbia 2-1 with the match coming down to a match tiebreaker. Morocco's Sara Akid and Yasmine Kabbaj had a set and a break lead before Serbia's Fatma Idrizovic and Natalija Senic began a furious comeback. They saved two match points in the second set tiebreaker, but Akid and Kabbaj closed out their third to take it 6-1, 6-7(7), 10-7.

Three boys ties were decided by the doubles point, with Serbia, Paraguay and France earning wins after splitting the two singles matches.

I'm no expert in round robin accounting, but I believe that teams that are both 2-0 and playing each other have already qualified for the quarterfinals. That would include the US boys, who play No. 5 seed Great Britain in Group A; the US girls, who play No. 5 Thailand in Group D.

Others in that situation are unseeded Italy and top seeded Russia in Junior Fed Cup Group A; France[3] and Hong Kong[7] in Junior Davis Cup Group B and unseeded Paraguay and Serbia[4] in Group C. 

In Junior Fed Cup, two groups are still undecided, with the possibility of three teams finishing 2-1. In Junior Davis Cup, No. 2 seed Japan leads Group D 2-0, but if they lose to Czech Republic and Spain beats Morocco, all but Morocco would be 2-1.

The Junior Davis Cup match between the US and Great Britain is Thursday's feature match on the Tennis Channel beginning at 11 a.m.

For links to live streaming and live scoring, see the National Campus tournament page.

For complete results and Thursday's schedule, see the ITF tournament website.

Below are the results from today's round robin play:

Junior Davis Cup Round Robin Day 2

Group A
USA[1] d. Boliva 3-0
Great Britain[5] d. Canada 3-0

Group B
France[3] d. Ukraine 2-1*
Hong Kong[7] d. Syria 3-0

Group C
Serbia[4] d. Australia[6] 2-1*
Paraguay d. Egypt 2-1*

Group D
Japan[2] d. Morocco 3-0
Spain d. Czech Republic[8] 3-0

Junior Fed Cup Round Robin Day 2

Group A
Russia[1] d. Chinese Taipei[8] 3-0
Italy d. Peru 3-0

Group B
Czech Republic[3] d. China 3-0
France d. Argentina[7] 3-0

Group C
Germany[6] d. Canada[4] 2-1
Morocco d. Serbia 2-1*

Group D
USA[1] d. Korea 3-0
Thailand[5] d. Brazil 3-0

*match decided by doubles point