Top seeds Great Britain, Japan and France made it two wins in two days in their respective round-robin pools before heavy rain brought a premature end to Tuesday’s (29 May) second day of play at the 2018 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.
That means that two of the event’s most eagerly anticipated men’s and women’s round-robin ties are scheduled to finish on Wednesday as Argentina take on Belgium in the men’s event and defending champion China meet second seed Japan in the women’s event.
Gordon Reid beat Martin de la Puente 6-2 6-1 and Alfie Hewett defeated Daniel Caverzaschi 6-3 6-3 as the Rio Paralympic gold and silver medallists laid the foundations for Britain’s 3-0 victory over Spain in Pool A of the men’s event.
With just six of Tuesday’s scheduled eight pool ties actually completed on the day, the only one of them to be settled in a deciding doubles rubber came in the contest between Poland and China, after Shunjiang Dong defeated former world No. 3 Tadeusz Kruszelnicki 6-3 6-3. However, Fabisiak and Kruszelnicki produced a polished doubles performance, dropping just one game to earn Poland the 2-1 overall victory.
Meanwhile, Australian Open champion Shingo Kunieda and Takashi Sanada dominated their singles rubbers against South Korea to put second seed Japan in pole position in Pool B.
Third seed France continued their quest for a sixth men’s title in seven years with Nicolas Peifer starting the Pool C contest against host nation Netherlands by making it 22 wins in 22 matches against Tom Egberink. Houdet and Peifer had long-since sealed the tie for France when Rody de Bie and Ruben Spaargaren snatched the dead doubles rubber against Frederic Cattaneo and Gaetan Menguy in a match tiebreak.
There were also straightforward wins for Australia in Pool C and Brazil in Pool B.
China and Japan women contest just three games
With the prospect of either defending champion China or second seed Japan not making it to the semifinals of the women’s event, the enthralling contest was still in its very early stage when the rain came, with Japan’s Manami Tanaka leading Huimin Huang 2-1 in the opening singles rubber.
Just the first singles rubber had been completed in two of the other three schedule ties. Aniek van Koot gave host nation and top seed Netherlands the best possible start to its second Pool A contest against Switzerland, van Koot defeating former world No. 6 Karin Suther-Erath 6-0 6-0.
Meanwhile, Louise Hunt gave third seed Great Britain an early boost against USA after defeating Shelby Baron 6-2 6-3, with world No. 6 Lucy Shuker and world No. 10 Dana Mathewson set to play the second singles rubber.
Quad success for Australia and USA
Top seeds Australia and USA join former champion Israel in going into Wednesday’s last day of round-robin pool competition with back-to-back victories.
The last time that the BNP Paribas World Team Cup was held in Netherlands, in 2014, Japan beat USA in the pool phase of the competition. Japan threatened to do the same to top seed Australia this time after Mitsuteru Moroishi edged out Heath Davidson 6-4 6-4 in their first singles rubber.
However, world No. 3 Dylan Alcott brought the tie level with his 6-2 6-4 win over Koji Sugeno and he and Davidson, the reigning Paralympic and Australian Open champions, dominated the deciding doubles rubber to secure a 6-3 6-0 win and an overall 2-1 victory for Australia.
Also in Pool A, Israel beat South Africa 2-1. With London 2012 gold medallist Noam Gershony winning his opening singles rubber it was left to former US Open champion Lucas Sithole to keep South Africa’s hopes alive. That is exactly what Sithole did under extreme pressure, coming out on top in a thrilling climax to beat former world No. 1 Shraga Weinberg 4-6 6-1 7-6(1).
Nevertheless, Gershony and Weinberg ultimately proved strongest in the deciding doubles rubber to beat Mahlane Donald Ramphadi and Sithole 6-3 6-3.
Pool B saw USA beat defending champion Great Britain 3-0 as the two nations went head-to-head in a rematch of their 2014 World Team Cup final in Netherlands.
Bryan Barten beat last week’s Open de Vendee champion James Shaw 6-2 6-1 to get the USA off to the best possible start and world No. 1 David Wagner came from behind in the opening set of the second singles rubber to defeat world No.2 Andy Lapthorne 7-5 6-1 and put the tie out of reach of Great Britain.