WTA Tour

SA triumphant against the odds

2015-02-06 14:07
Chanel Simmonds (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The South African Fed Cup team caused a major upset on day two of the Europe/Africa Zone Group II tournament, beating hosts and tournament favourites, Estonia, 2-1.

In the opening rubber South Africa's number two, Chanel Simmonds, went up against Anett Kontveit, who was simply too strong for the South African, winning 6-3, 6-3.

Kontaveit was dominant in both serving and returning departments, from the word go.

Her aggressive game only allowed Simmonds to play defence as she tried to find her pace and distance.

Simmonds offered some resistance in the second set, taking a 3-0 lead before Kontaveit opened up the taps and played aggressive tennis off the baseline, allowing her opponent little recovery time and finished up with the victory.

Down a point, South Africa had to rely on their number one Chani Scheepers to keep the tie alive.

Scheepers the senior member of the team displayed a solid all round performance beating the Estonian number one, Kaia Kanepi 6-4 6-3 to keep the tie alive. Scheepers, who previously played Kanepi in 2012 in Indian Wells where she toppled the big hitter on a similar surface, was able to maintain her composure throughout the match. She displayed discipline on the baseline and control and her execution against the big hitting Estonian was solid in both sets.

"Kanepi is a great player and ranked in the world's top 50. Even though I had beaten her before I knew I had to mix it up on court and throw in the odd drop shot to upset her rhythm," Scheepers said.

"I did just that and am glad it worked in my and South Africa's favour."

With the tie levelled at one all, the destiny of both teams lay in the hands of the four doubles players who took to court for the deciding rubber.

With a very one sided crowd the Estonians Kaia Kanepi and Anna Kontaveit came out firing on all cylinders by over powering the South African duo Chanel Simmonds and Chani Scheepers with power returns and serves.

The home team raced to a 6-3, 3-2 lead, and it was at this point that the South Africans changed the game plan and shortened the points against the two big hitters.

South Africa took over with more power and aggression and shortened the points by going down the line, passing the opponents several times and leaving them guessing their shots at the net and the direction at which the south Africans were attacking their game.

The South Africans fought back hard to take the second set 6-3.

The third set produced a nail biter with Scheepers serving out for the match and saving four break points before they clinched the match with an error from Kontaveit 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Team captain Earl Grainger was delighted with the win against the favourites.

"We had a great win today beating one of the big opponents and tournament favourites, this was all achieved through team effort and we got to keep it up for tomorrow and the rest of the tie," Grainger said.

South Africa, who remain the only unbeaten team in the pool, will play their last Pool A round robin tie against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday.

Read more on:    chanel simmonds  |  tennis


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