Namibia Ninth in Fed Cup Africa-Europe Group III

Namibia’s women’s tennis team finished ninth out of 13 teams at the Africa-Europe Group III Federations Cup which took place in Ulcinj, Montenegro from 14 to 18 April 2015.

In the process Namibia won two matches in a single tournament at the Fed Cup for the first time since 2006.

Namibia got off to a poor start after losing 3-0 to Macedonia on the first day.

Namibia’s number two player Kerstin Gressmann lost 6-4, 6-4 to Magdalena Stoilkovska while Namibia’s number one, Sedi Jacobs lost 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 to Lina Gjorcheska.

Moolman and Jacobs teamed up for the doubles match but the Macedonian pair was too g, winning the match 6-0, 6-1.

Namibia recorded their first victory on the second day with a comfortable 3-0 win against Mozambique.

Gressmann comfortably beat Marieta de Lyubov Nhamitambo 6-0, 6-2, as did Jacobs, who beat Claudia Sumaia 6-1, 6-1.

Jacobs and Moolman once again teamed up for the doubles and thrashed their opponents 6-0, 6-0 to give Namibia a 3-0 overall victory.

On the third day, Namibia played against Maldova, who were the top-ranked team in the group and the fourth-ranked team for the tournament.

Gressmann was involved in a nail-biter of a match against Iulia Helbet, pushing her all the way before losing the encounter 6-4, 7-6 (7-6).

Jacobs played a solid game to beat Daniela Ciobanu 6-1, 6-3.

Maldova’s doubles team of Helbet and Alexander Perper was however just too g as they beat Linique Theron and Sedi Jacobs 6-3, 6-2, to win the tie 2-1. Maldova went on to achieve third place in the tournament.

In the play-offs for places 9 to 12, Namibia came up against Iceland. Namibia’s number two player, Linique Theron had a relatively comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory against Anna Soffia Gronholm, while Jacobs also won her match easily against Hjordis Rosa Gudmundsdottir, 6-1, 6-1.

Lize Moolman and Linique Theron paired up for the doubles and beat Gronholm and her partner Hera Brynjarsdottir 6-1, 6-0. This 3-0 win over Iceland, put Namibia in ninth place overall out of the 13 competing teams.

Namibia’s captain Mariska Kuschke said she was pleased with Namibia’s performances.

“Overall I am pleased with our performance as a team. Unfortunately our number two player, Linique Theron, suffered a back injury, and was not able to play most of the matches. We suffered some close defeats which would have made a big difference to our final position, but we have to admit that the other teams also played a more solid game to pull the matches through in their favour,” she said.

“With those close matches, in the end, it all comes down to experience of playing under stressful conditions. Sedi is fortunate enough to be training at the ITF centre in Morocco, from where she is able to travel around a lot during the year to play ITF tournaments. One can see that she is used to playing tough matches all the time and her performances were very consistent throughout the week. We had a young team (Jacobs and Moolman are both 17, Gressmann 21 and Theron 20) and I believe that their performances will improve as they gain more international experience,” she added.

“Namibia was also lucky enough to play in the same tournament as Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, and I think meeting her and seeing her play, was a great inspiration and motivation to all of our players,” Kuschke said.

NTA president Bob Mould thanked the Namibian women’s team for a job well done. He expressed confidence that next year with a bit of luck the Namibian women may pull off a small tennis sensation and succeed in getting promoted to the EuropeAfrica Zone Group II.

In 2016 Namibia will once again compete in EuropeAfrica Zone Group III for the fifth straight year.

Source : The Namibian