After two grueling days knelt Belgium, that without his primus Elise Mertens ascended the throne only in the very last set of the deciding doubles match for the much higher-rated Spain. Thus forfeits the tricolore team place in Wereldgroep 1, the collection of the eight best countries. “A hard verdict, but the feeling of pride prevails”, said captain Johan Van Herck. “Also, we had the victory earned, against a on paper much stronger opponent.”
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Team Belgium had his first race day with mixed feelings ended. Kirsten Flipkens (WTA 58) is already 16 years long time at the ready as a member of the Fed Cup team, but the way they are with a lot of routine and even more skill is a big name as Garbine Muguruza (WTA 19) wegtikte, belongs undoubtedly at its best national football team. In the best of three duels, estimated the 33-year-old Campine itself in. Against the very tough Carla Suarez Navarro (WTA 27) – the player of the weekend – was Alison Van Uytvanck (WTA 51) under its best level. 1-1 after day 1.
Sunday morning had Ysaline Bonaventure for the surprise of the weekend, drawn by two-time Major winner Muguruza in three sets to take down. In the manner of the legendary Red Devil Alex Czerniatysnki changed them to the most unlikely of pearls with large flaws, but the first category weighed heavier. “The best match of my life,” beamed the Liège woelwater afterwards. Again came to Belgium on a lead, again, was Suarez Navarro cross. Yanina Wickmayer got even less foot to ground against the Spanish number 2 than Of Uytvanck a day earlier. 2-2.
This had the doubles to decide. Captain Johan Van Herck opted for his two previous winners, Flipkens and Bonaventure. Belgium started whirling on the first set (3-0 ), but could that bonus is not hold. Spain came soon at the same height and got under the impulse of an almost flawless Suarez Navarro in the third set the sheet to itself. Also, set 2 was initially in the country advantage: 3-1. Spain poked back, but an additional break put the Walloon-Flemish combination to 5-2. A opslagspel of Flipkens made it. 1-1 in sets. This was a compelling duel in the climax – a fateful set – it deserved.
Those who remained after two grueling days in Kortrijk, oven the most fresh in head and legs? The difference in ranking – two emissaries from the top thirty on the Spanish side, number 58 and number 123 on the other hand – showed in that third set, not initially (2-2), but after that tilted the match in Spanish advantage. Muguruza had her kwaadste moments behind the back and so was the plots 2-5. “They started much more alert and more aggressive play at the net”, indicated Kirsten Flipkens, “and so changed the momentum.” Went to the Iberian team, this is still hands? No. Belgium bow and broke. “It is a pity that those two stunts, no victory’”, lamented Flipkens.
What if… Elise Mertens was there?
Especially thanks to the skillful bijtertje Suarez Navarro takes on Spain next year, the Belgian place in the Wereldgroep in. Had it with the presence of Elise Mertens else can walk? Van Herck: “That you don’t know. I always remember that we have a very good week behind us and we are making a significant step forward with these four girls. I give up my ambition with this team is ever as good to do as with the Davis Cup.” And the man from antwerp, Belgium to two finals resulted…