By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
David Wagner and Nick Taylor, the No. 1-ranked quad doubles team on the planet, delivered a world-class clutch performance in a winner-take-all super tiebreak against Israel. The duo will now look to bring a BNP Paribas World Team Cup title back to the U.S. for the seventh time in 11 years on the strength of a 2-1 victory on Friday.
On Saturday, Team USA will face second-seeded Great Britain, who defeated Japan, 2-0, in the other semifinal.
Israel earned the early 1-0 lead when defending Paralympic gold medalist Noam Gershony defeated Greg Hasterok, 6-1, 6-0. Wagner, as he was against Italy on Wednesday, was forced into an elimination match in No. 1 singles. He handled it with ease, defeating Shraga Weinberg in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.
The drama would build as Wagner and Taylor lost a second-set tiebreak to Gershony and partner Boaz Kramer, forcing a match tiebreak, which was won 10-7 by the Americans. The finally tally for the match: 26 games won for the U.S., 25 for Israel.
The final pits the best against the best in the quad division, if one goes by rankings. All six players among the two nations are currently in the Top 10: Wagner (No. 1), Hasterok (No. 7) and Taylor (No. 9) for the U.S., Andrew Lapthorne (No. 3), Jamie Burdekin (No. 5) and Antony Cotterill (No. 8) for Great Britain.
Chris Herman notched his eighth win of the WTC with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over world No. 2 Carlos Anker of the Netherlands, yet it was not enough to beat the Dutch juniors on Friday, who prevailed, 2-1. The American entered the match 0-3 against Anker in singles, including two losses back at the 2012 WTC in Seoul, when Herman, then 14, took a 16-year-old Anker to tiebreaks in four of the five sets they played.
Anker gained revenge in doubles with partner Diede De Groot, however, defeating Herman and Conner Stroud, 7-5, 6-2. With the loss, the Team USA juniors finished fourth overall, improving from a fifth-place showing in 2013.
In men’s action, Sweden’s Peter Vikstrom and Stefan Olsson combined to sweep the U.S. in the first match of the Position 5-8 draw, 2-0. Jon Rydberg – who had a big day on Wednesday against Poland – managed to get just two games off of Vikstrom, who won 6-0, 6-2. Steve Welch fared no better against Olsson, losing 6-0, 6-1.
Due to the rubber being clinched at 2-0 and no further seeding needing to be fought for, the doubles match with Rydberg and Welch squaring off against Vikstrom and partner Greger Kallsholm was not played.
Team USA will now take on South Korea on Saturday with an eye on securing seventh place for the tournament. Should they lose, they will finish eighth.
For complete coverage of the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup, please click here