Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Europe Africa Zone Group III - 2014
Tallin, Estonia: The draw for the 2014 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Zone Group III event took place at the Tere Tennis Club on Tuesday 4 May with Malta being drawn in Pool D having Ireland (1) and Iceland (3).
The participating countries lined up for the tournament were Armenia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Moldova, Madagascar, Namibia, and Norway. This year’s edition saw the stronger countries ensuring that their top players participated. In the initial nomination list for Denmark their no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki (WTA ranked 11) had been listed, who had to drop out in the last minute due to other commitments. Estonia lined up Kaia Kanepi ranked no 27 WTA. Malta seeded 2 in Pool D saw a tough draw as Ireland ensured that they presented a team which was led by Amy Bowtell, WTA ranked no. 636.
The nominated team for Malta was captained by Helen Asciak, with team players Elaine Genovese, Roseann Dimech, Katrina Sammut and Maria Giorgia Farrugia Sacco. In their first Pool encounter played on Thursday Malta beet Iceland 2 rubbers to 1, with Elaine Genovese first on winning her encounter 6, 1 /6, 1. Katrina Sammut was on next playing her first ever encounter in Fed Cup competition at the very young age of 14. Katrina gave a very good showing but had to succumb to her more experienced opponent 3, 6 / 3, 6. The Malta players Genovese and Dimech went on to play the deciding doubles rubber winning in 2 straight sets. The day before Ireland had swept past Iceland with a 3-0 win.
These results placed the Ireland vs Malta encounter as a decider on who would play for promotion on Saturday. Elaine Genovese was on court first winning her encounter in three sets against the young Jane Fennely. In the next encounter young Katrina Sammut was up against Amy Bowtell. The first set saw Sammut holding serve against the much more powerful and experienced player Bowtell and going on to lose the first set 3, 6 with only one break of serve. In the second set Bowtell went on to win the encounter with a set score of 6, 0.
It then remained for the doubles ladies to decide the encounter, but the Irish ladies proved to be too strong for the Genovese/Dimech pair who lost their rubber in two straight sets 1 and 1. This placed Malta to play off for the joint 5th place out of 12 teams. They were drawn against a very strong Moldova team only going on to lose the encounter with Genovese and Sammut both losing their singles encounters.
Dr David Farrugia Sacco, President of the Malta Tennis Federation, said that the selection of our Fed Cup team was very much in line with the Federation’s policy of promoting its younger players to gain experience in high level competition which no doubt Fed Cup offers. He went on to say that “notwithstanding the 7th place achieved in this year’s competition, placing 5th last year having beaten Ireland in the play off for position, we are very pleased to see that, while Ms Genovese remains a guarantee of strength at a young age of 23, it is important to see that young players as Ms Sammut and Ms Farrugia Sacco carry on being exposed to such high level play, with an end to securing further guarantees of success with important results such as these.” In concluding his statement Dr Farrugia Sacco thanked the Federation’s sponsors, Bank of Valletta, for their continued support without which such participation would not be possible.