By Jeremiah Yolkut, USTA
Men’s Recap-USA vs. Switzerland
ANTALYA, Turkey – After a tough day on Wednesday, the men were ready to get back on the Ali Bey courts and redeem themselves for a tough loss. Captain Dan James decided to play youth on Day 5, using his rising star, Zach Beaulieu, for No. 2 singles.
In his first match of the 2010 IWTC, Beaulieu did not disappoint. His Swiss opponent, Yann Avanthey, was caught off guard throughout the match and succumbed to the USA’s rising men’s player, 6-4, 6-1, in straight sets.
In the second singles, Jon Rydberg took the court with a chance to close out the tie for Team USA and advance to play New Zealand on Saturday. Rydberg got down early, dropping the first three games of the set and looking slower and more prone to error than his veteran Swiss opponent, Daniel Dalla Pellegrina. Pellegrina was strong in the first part of the set, but as the set wore on, he faltered, allowing Rydberg a chance to gain some momentum and take the set, 7-5. In the second set, Rydberg started to push harder and faster, catching Pellegrina off-guard and creating more opportunities for winners. Rydberg eliminated his early unforced errors and took control, finishing off Team Swiss, 6-3, in the second.
In the doubles, Captain James decided to pair his third and fourth players to finish off the tie and get the sweep. It was the first time Marsten Anderson had seen live playing time at the IWTC, as the native Californian is attending his first international team tournament. Anderson, currently ranked No. 2 in doubles by the USTA, paired with Beaulieu in the final match of the tie. They came out strong in their first pairing of the week, taking the older Swiss team and handing them a 6-4 defeat in the first. In the second, the Americans’ errors proved too costly, as both had forgotten how the first set played out, and they got away from the fundamental tennis that was so effective in the opener. It wasn’t long before the Swiss team jumped on their mistakes and took the set, 6-7 (3).
As per IWTC rule, World Group 2 matches are decided in a 10-point match tiebreak.
The tiebreak was intense, as Team USA went down early, 2-5, and seemed shaken by the Swiss team’s cool nature and calm play. Anderson and Beaulieu were tepid in their strokes and started too slow in their pushing. It was not until 5-5 that the crowd began to see a shift in the U.S. duo. The compatriots awoke and realized they could pull this out with just a few more swift points and careful shots. It wasn’t long before the Americans had their moment, taking the tiebreak, 10-8, and sweeping Team Swiss in the tie.
USA vs. Switzerland
Zach Beaulieu vs. Yann Avanthe, 6-4, 6-1
Jon Rydberg vs. Daniel Dalla Pellegrina, 7-5, 6-3
Zach Beaulieu-Marsten Anderson vs. Raphael Gremion-Thomas Von Daeniken, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 10-8
The men will play against New Zealand Saturday for fifth place.
Quad Recap-USA vs. Sweden
In the semifinal tie vs. Sweden, the U.S. would need a strong No. 2 singles performance from Nick Taylor to assure David Wagner a little bit of breathing room for his match against No. 1 singles foe, Johan Andersson.
Taylor came out strong against his Swedish opponent, Anders Hard, showing his plans for the day. The match wasn’t very competitive, as Taylor controlled almost every ball his racquet touched. After 45 minutes of play, the results were clear, as the American won easily, 6-0, 6-0.
After facing Johan Andersson two times in the past month at other NEC Tour events, it was fitting that Wagner would face his most recent challenge for a trip to the Invacare World Team Cup finals. Wagner came out timid, playing to Andersson’s strengths and giving him many opportunities to assure success. The Swedish No. 1 controlled the ball, putting it in spots Wagner could not reach. Andersson stayed collected and enthusiastic, as he took out Wagner, 4-6, in the first.
In the second, Wagner turned things around, showing the qualities that got him to No. 2 in the world. He jumped on his opponent, taking the first four games and never wavering from his solid serve and more solid shot selections. Wagner turned quicker and moved faster as the set progressed and took advantage of Andersson’s tiring state. In the end, he tied up the rubber with a 6-3 second-set triumph.
It would come down to a full third set for the two familiar opponents. As the set started, the “Wagner” of the first set appeared, moving slower and less confident in all aspects of his game. It wasn’t until he tied the score at 4-4 that the crowd felt there was a chance to avoid a deciding doubles. Once at 4-4, Wagner struggled a bit, and Anderson pounced, going up 4-5. Wagner held serve to get it to 5-5 and broke the Swede’s serve to go up 6-5. In the next game, Wagner started strong, going up 40-0 before allowing Andersson a point to see 40-15. It was on the next point that Wagner would hit a return, tipping the top of the net and trickling over into Andersson’s service court, taking the match, 7-5, in the third. The U.S. contingency cheered, as the Quads assured their sixth straight trip to the IWTC finals.
USA vs. Sweden
Nick Taylor vs. Anders Hard, 6-0, 6-0
David Wagner vs. Johan Andersson, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
David Wagner-Bryan Barten vs. Anders Hard-Christer Jansson, 6-4, 6-1
The Quad team will face Israel in the final on Saturday.
Women’s Recap-USA vs. Switzerland
The U.S. women faced Team Switzerland on Day 5, looking to rebound after Tuesday’s disappointment.
Dana Mathewson went first, squaring off against Simona Rusnak Schmid. Schmid got off to a great start, taking the first two games and dominating what looked like a tired Mathewson. But it only took that loss in the second game for Mathewson to awake and tear through her opponent, winning six straight games and the first set, 6-2. In the second, Mathewson struggled a bit more, finding those moments of tentativeness tempting and allowing Schmid easier points and games. It wasn’t until she went on another tear at 2-4 that Mathewson showed her usual skill and turned away the Swiss player, 6-4, in the second.
Emmy Kaiser was up next, taking on Pamila Grangier for the tie and a chance at moving on to the fifth-place match on Saturday. Kaiser came out on fire, taking Grangier down and causing her problems all morning. The No. 1 player from the USA dispatched her Swiss opponent in short order, claiming the match in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0.
In doubles, the ladies battled the Swiss a bit more than planned, but in the end, they swept the tie on a high note, 6-4, 2-6, 10-6.
USA vs. Switzerland
Dana Mathewson vs. Simona Rusnak Schmid, 6-2, 6-4
Emmy Kaiser vs. Pamila Grangier, 6-3, 6-0
Emmy Kaiser-Dana Mathewson vs. Pamila Grangier-Simona Rusnak Schmid, 6-4, 2-6, 10-6
The U.S. women will play for fifth place on Saturday vs. Korea.