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2023 World Team Cup: U.S. women sweep Chile as Phelps earns first senior WTC victory
When you're the No. 1 junior in the world, some nerves might be expected the first time you play in a women's event, but that wasn't the case for Maylee Phelps at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup on Tuesday in Vilamoura, Portugal.
The 16-year-old from Portland, Ore. partnered with American No. 1 Dana Mathewson in doubles to put a bow on the U.S.'s sweep of Chile in its first round-robin match. Mathewson and Phelps beat Sofia Fuentes and Gloria Del Carmen Llamin Llamin 6-2, 6-1 to close out the tie, after Shelby Baron and Mathewson swept singles to give the U.S. an unassailable lead in its first Group B match.
Phelps was a member of the U.S. junior team in each of the last two years, but has been testing women's play on tour for the first four months of 2023.
"It was definitely a learning experience," Phelps said afterwards. "The best thing is just taking that and putting it into other matches. I'm mainly excited about playing with Dana, and it felt good."
The U.S. has placed third in each of the last two editions of the event, and Baron and Mathewson have been a part of both of those teams. The two looked sharp in their opening action against Chile, and dropped just 10 games in four sets: Baron was a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Fuentes, before Mathewson followed with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Macarena Cabrillana in a match between two players who've boasted Top 10 world rankings in their careers.
In other Day 2 action, the U.S. juniors improved to 2-0 in their group, assuring themselves of the top spot in Group A, with a 3-0 sweep of defending champions Australia. The pair of Charlie Cooper and Tomas Majetic were responsible for three straight-set wins, and lost just 14 games across six sets played.
"As our coach says, we want to compete, and if competing means winning, then that's what we want to do," Majetic, who opened the tie with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Yassin Hill, said afterwards. "In my opinion, we got a pretty good draw [in the group]; it was a good first day to start, and then a good second match as well, and hopefully, we can keep it going.
"I felt I played a lot better today than I did yesterday. I was playing a lot looser; I didn't have as much pressure as I did yesterday. The second match of the week was pretty good."
Rounding out the U.S. results, the quad team dropped a 3-0 match to title favorites, the Netherlands, to drop to 1-1 in its group.
Among the matches on the schedule for Day 3, the U.S. takes on the Netherlands again, this time in the men's division. With both teams sitting at 1-0 after their first matches, the top spot in their round-robin group is at stake. The quad team will also face South Africa.
For more from the 2023 BNP Paribas World Team Cup, visit the USTA's event homepage or the ITF's tournament hub.
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