All Teams on Court
By Jeremiah Yolkut
After a grey Wednesday in Nottingham, the sun tried to make its presence known, as Team USA would send all four teams to do battle in the fourth day of the competition.
Mackenzie Soldan (USA) vs. Rody De Bie (Netherlands)
Soldan started the tie against World Team Cup rookie, De Bie, but things never developed the way she had planned. De Bie came out strong, overpowering Soldan and taking all of her tools away early. Soldan fired a lot of short balls at her opponent, allowing easy return winners and ending her day before it really began, 1-6, 3-6.
Dylan Levine (USA) vs. Tom Egberink (Netherlands)
It would be up to Levine and his old Dutch foe, Tom Egberink, to decide if doubles was necessary. Levine and Egberink have played many times in the past, as they came up together in the juniors, but WTC always brings a renewed excitement. Egberink came out with power and force, leaving Levine confused and frustrated throughout the match. When Egberink made mistakes, he recovered before Levine could take advantage. Levine pushed hard and tried to overcome the large Dutch presence but didn’t have enough, losing 1-6, 0-6.
Due to weather, the doubles was not played.
The juniors will battle with Brazil in their final match of the IWTC on Friday.
Nick Taylor (USA) vs. Boaz Kramer (Israel)
Nick Taylor came out rusty against his Israeli opponent, dropping the first 3 games of the first set, but as the clouds rolled over his match court, something changed, and Taylor turned it on, winning the set 7-6(1) in the tiebreak. The second set was delayed for 30 minutes by rain, but that didn’t affect Taylor’s momentum, taking the match with a 6-1 second set victory.
David Wagner (USA) vs. Shraga Weinberg (Israel)
Wagner is no stranger to a challenge, and that is what Weinberg tried to present in the No. 1 singles of the semifinal tie. Weinberg matched Wagner in the first set, trading games and driving the ball back and forth with the world No. 1. It wasn’t until Wagner turned the set into his own exhibition on how to serve and volley that he turned Weinberg away and took the set 6-4. Weinberg wasn’t finished, trying to push the tie to the doubles, and came out with the same urgency as in the previous set. The match was plagued by high winds and a bit of controversy, as Weinberg and Wagner both hounded the official for missed calls and incorrect rule interpretations. Another series of back-and-forth games led to a tiebreak, where Wagner pounded on every ball, making it clear why Team USA was headed to their fourth straight IWTC Quad Final. Wagner took the second set 7-6(0), as Team USA remained undefeated in the quad division.
The quad squad will battle Great Britain in the finals on Saturday.
Emmy Kaiser (USA) and Silvia de Maria (Italy)
Kaiser came out strong, taking the first three games of the first set, while de Maria couldn’t match her intensity in the 6-4 victory. In the second set, de Maria was the aggressor and used a rain delay to overcome being down 4-5, taking the set 7-5 as Kaiser seemed to lose her fight. It wasn’t until the gritty third set that we would learn what Kaiser was made of. After going down 2-5 in the third and creating a sense of despair in the USA fan section, Kaiser awoke. Battling five match points in the set and tiebreak, Kaiser won the “roller-coaster ride of a match” 7-6(7), giving her USA teammates something to cheer about
Dana Mathewson (USA) and Marianna Lauro (Italy)
After Kaiser’s battle in No. 2 singles, Mathewson knew her match with Lauro could be just as tough. Mathewson came out on fire, taking the ball and driving at Lauro, winning the first set 6-3 in short order. In the second set, Mathewson ran into some trouble, as she traded forehand winners with Lauro. After going down 3-4 Mathewson took the advice of her veteran Captain Paul Walker and began driving the ball down the line where Lauro shied away from. That was the difference, as Mathewson took the set 7-5, winning the tie for Team USA.
The doubles was not played.
Both Kaiser and Mathewson took advantage of a new women’s team policy that equated every ace in the match, with 10 push-ups from teammate Hope Lewellen and 10 dips from Captain Paul Walker. One can imagine the complexity of doing 10 dips while sitting on court during a changeover, but Walker performed like a champ. Kudos to the ladies for helping Lewellen pass the 100 push-up mark for the week.
The USA will now battle Germany on Saturday for 5th or 6th place.
John Becker (USA) vs. Guillermo Camusso (Argentina)
As John Becker started his third singles match of the tournament, he looked cool and confident, as the WTC aura was becoming more natural. Becker started the first set on a 3-0 tear before losing his momentum and the opener 3-6. Becker knew he would have to turn it around in the second set, and he did just that, shacking off the rain delay to win 6-3 and sending the match to a decisive third set. In the third, Becker and Camusso battled through each other's mistakes and drew even at 3-3. Becker lost his serve going down 3-4 before taking the next two games and going up 5-4. Camusso wasn’t done and turned in two solid sets to take a 6-5 lead before Becker fought through two match points and forced the tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, Cammuso again jumped on top of Becker, going up 5-1 before Becker drew closer at 4-5. In the end, the Argentinean proved too much, taking the set 7-6(5) and giving Becker his first singles loss of the event.
Paul Moran (USA) vs. Gustavo Fernandez (Argentina)
Fernandez came out strong, but Moran stayed with him, going back and forth through the first set. As the set moved to a tiebreaker, Moran began to show signs of frustration, allowing Fernandez the final push he needed to take the set 7-6(5). Fernandez continued his strong will to win, beginning the second set with a 4-1 lead before allowing Moran a small opening. After jostling back and forth for a few games, another tiebreaker would be needed to decide the second set. This time, Moran tirelessly fought Fernandez but to no avail, as the young Argentinean refused to give up winning the set 7-6(4) and the tie.
For Team USA the loss puts them in Men’s World Group 2 for the IWTC 2010.
The doubles was not played. The men next face Poland or Italy on Friday.
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