By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
For the third time in four years and the eighth time overall, the Team USA quad division team hoisted the BNP Paribas World Team Cup high after the 2013 American squad triumphed over rival Israel, 2-0, this weekend.
Quad team linchpins Nick Taylor (6-3, 6-0 over Shraga Weinberg) and David Wagner (6-2, 6-2 over Noam Gershony) both wrapped their week in Antalya, Turkey, with perfect performances in singles, each winning five matches en route to the WTC title.
"This is the biggest event of the year for me personally and being part of the winning team is a real honor," said Taylor. "The last time I played Weinberg was for the bronze in London (at the Paralympics) and that was a very tough three-set match, but the conditions were very different. I’m definitely a happier person on the clay than I am on the type of courts that we had in London."
"We stuck to our game plan and really supported each other. We were the best team out there," added Wagner. "It is always good to get out and battle the best. This is my sixth World Team Cup title and I’d like to dedicate it to my mom Cathy Carson and my grandma Dorothy Carson."
The WTC quad competition debuted in 1998, with the United States now claiming more than half of the first-place finishes. Israel, this year's runner-up, has four and Great Britain has three. The U.S. finished third last year, their lowest finish since 2004, when they finished fourth.
Elsewhere, the U.S. men's team rallied to remain in the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) World Group I, sweeping both South Africa, 3-0, on Saturday and potential World Group II usurper Greece, 2-0, on Sunday. Veterans Stephen Welch and Steve Baldwin both found themselves needing to lift their games after lopsided first-set losses in singles (Welch against South Africa's Evans Maripa, Baldwin the next day against Greece's Stefanos Diamantis), rebounding in ways they couldn't earlier in the week in team losses to Argentina, Japan and Thailand.
Top-seeded France won the men's competition on Sunday, defeating the Netherlands, 2-0.
Saturday saw the U.S. women play their final match, knocking off Chile, 3-0, to finish ninth overall. Kaitlyn Verfuerth finished 3-1 in singles during WTC play by taking down Macarena Cabrillana in three sets, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2. The Netherlands claimed their 26th WTC title in the women's event on Friday, beating Great Britain, 2-0.
The 2013 WTC junior competition was won by Great Britain, besting second-place finisher Spain, 2-1. The U.S. junior team finished fifth.
Full Weekend Results
Men’s World Group I 9-12 Playoffs: USA defeated South Africa 3-0 (Saturday)
Steve Baldwin (USA) d. Donald Ramphadi (RSA) 6-0, 6-0
Stephen Welch (USA) d. Evans Maripa (RSA) 2-6, 6-1, 6-3
Steve Baldwin & Anthony Lara (USA) d. Leon Els & Evans Maripa WALKOVER