Fed Cup 2009 Day 3 Review

Fed Cup 2009 Day 3 Review

Finland came out victorious over Garry Cahill’s Irish charges in a very showery Malta today (April 23rd). In between all the rain and delays, the Irish team will be very happy with their overall performance against a side who was widely expected to be challenging for promotion to Group II of the Euro/Africa Zone. The Finns were the victors in two of the three rubbers, but with Ireland winning the final days rubber, it will prove crucial in the final positions in the pool. 

 

Opening the days proceedings for the third day in a row for Ireland was Greystones’ Amy Bowtell against the 25 year-old Finn Piia Suomalainen. Amy will be disappointed not to have taken the match to three sets after having a total of three set points in the first before the Finn capitalised on a Bowtell double fault during her second set point and brought the game to deuce before breaking the Greystones girl’s serve to tie at 5-5. Soumalainen built on this break to take the set 7-5. Bowtell also played well in the second set but a break of serve proved to be the deciding factor, with Soumalainen winning the second set and match 7-5, 6-4. 

 

Finland then moved into an unbeatable lead against Ireland as Emma Laine proved too strong for Ireland’s Rachael Dillon in the second rubber of the tie. The 23 year-old Finn is a former Top 50 player, and an experienced campaigner on the Fed Cup circuit already notching up over forty appearances for the Scandinavians. This experience showed against Dillon as Laine enjoyed a comfortable victory over Dillon, winning 6-1, 6-0.
Ireland were now fighting to avoid a similar result as yesterdays 3-0 loss to Greece and the young duo of Lynsey McCullough and Jenny Claffey came out fighting. Unlike the Greeks the day before Finnish Team Captain Ville Liukko decided not to pair off their strongest players of Laine and Suomalainen but instead opted for the relatively inexperienced combination of Cecilia Estlander and Heini Salonen. After establishing a good understanding over the previous two days of competition both Jenny and Lynsey were quick to exploit the weaknesses of the Finns racing into a one set lead, 6-2. The Irish had the rubber wrapped up in under the hour winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.
Ireland can now enjoy a rest day in the Mediterranean tomorrow and will face the host nation of Malta on Saturday, in what is likely to be the battle for third spot in the pool.
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