BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: It is advantage Argentina after they secured two unlikely victories on day one of their Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II tie against Sweden.
In the first rubber, Paula Ormaechea gave Argentina the early lead with a terrific 63 60 victory over Johanna Larsson. Ormaechea was ranked more than 100 places below Larsson but harnessed the passion of the Argentine crowd to provide the upset they were after. In the second rubber, Florencia Molinero triumphed over Sofia Arvidsson in three sets 63 26 61. Molinero is ranked outside the top 200 in singles but improved her Fed Cup record to 10 wins and only one loss.
These victories mean that Argentina has a sizeable advantage going into day two, with the Swedes knowing that they will have to win both of the reverse singles rubbers as well as the doubles rubber if they are to reach April’s World Group play-offs.
In an impressive display of tennis, Ormaechea broke Larsson’s serve six times to collect not only one of the most important victories of her career, but also the first one this season. The Sunchales native had lost all three matches she had played ahead of this weekend, in the qualifying round of Brisbane, Sydney and the Australian Open.
“I didn’t expect a victory like this, so clear. I knew I had to fight to capture the match. But everything finally happened really fast and easy, so now I can rest for tomorrow. I was really focused. I knew I had to keep going, even if things weren’t right for me, because I knew she was going to give me a chance at any moment,” reflected Ormaechea, still excited and joyous several minutes after the end of the match.
Molinero had to fight more in the second match for her most remarkable win. “Did you see me? I can’t believe this, I have just beaten a Top 40 player. It’s amazing,” said the girl from Rafaela while she was still sweating after such a great effort. “This is very important for me and for the team. I think I played a great match. Even though she played good at the beginning of the second set, I was able to recover in the third to win the match,” added Molinero. Her victory over Arvidsson was her first match against a Top 40 player.
Bettina Fulco, the Argentine captain, looked pretty proud of her team: “I don’t think anyone believed that this outcome could be possible. We thought a 1-1 score after day one would be something great, so being 2-0 is amazing. However, we mustn’t relax, we’re looking forward to closing the tie in the third match.”
Fulco has an ace up her sleeve if things go further than the third rubber - the left-handed Maria Irigoyen is likely to step onto the court replacing Molinero, but that is a decision they will make tonight.
On Sweden’s side, captain Lars-Anders Wahlgren’s first official day as a captain was far away from what he had dreamt of. He gave credit to the home players: “It was a fantastic day for the Argentinean players. They used the surface very well, as well as the support of the crowd. It’s a tough tie for Sweden, but tomorrow we have nothing to lose.”
View match statistics here: Live scores
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) - 09/02/2013
Florencia Molinero (ARG) - 09/02/2013
Captain Bettina Fulco (ARG) - 09/02/2013