CATANDUVA, BRAZIL: In ten months many things can change in tennis, so it is almost impossible to make predictions. But Swiss captain Heinz Guenthardt could take a lot of positives from the 4-1 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas win over Brazil in Catanduva last weekend. He will be optimistic ahead of the World Group II tie that the team is going to play in February 2015.
Guenthardt believes Belinda Bencic and Timea Bacsinszky, the players he chose to play singles in the World Group II play-off tie, can improve and gain confidence during the season after important wins in Brazil. The 17-year-old Bencic didn’t disappoint, playing as the No. 1 for the first time and in front of a crowd that is renowned for vociferously backing the home team. And Bacsinszky showed she has the potential to rise up the rankings and get back into the top 50 - her career best is No. 37 in June 2010.
The next ten months will be an important period for the world No. 91 Bencic as she aims to get closer to being the top player that she is expected to become. The young Swiss is already in the best season of her short career – she reached a WTA Premier event semifinal for the first time in Charleston – and will probably gain more control of her nerves with the experience of a full year on the professional circuit.
“At this age she is experiencing everything for the first time. But she has a natural talent to know things and is already showing maturity and getting some good results like the ones in the Fed Cup tie against France and Brazil this year. It is impossible to predict how is she going to play next year, but we have good expectations, of course,” said Guenthardt.
With all of his best players in good form, the Swiss captain may nominate different players according to the conditions of the next tie. And he believes he can make strong nominations from now on.
“Switzerland is such a small country, but we are having good results in tennis in the last years. Nowadays, we have two players improving inside the top 100, Bacsinszky and Viktorija Golubic are showing they can join them amongst the best players of the world. I guess we can basically face any team in any kind of condition,” he said.
The Brazilian team feel they could have played better against Switzerland, especially on the opening day. Teliana Pereira and Paula Cristina Goncalves admitted they felt the pressure of playing in front of their home crowd for the first time in a Fed Cup World Group II play-off tie.
“We had a blackout in the opening day and that was decisive for the outcome of the tie,” said Pereira. “We could have played way better and forced Switzerland to give us at least one point on Saturday. But that is OK. The feeling is that we improved a lot from one day to another even if we were forced to win all three matches to turnaround and could just beat them once.”
Next year Brazil will once more have to play in the Americas Zone Group I to have a chance to bid for a World Group II spot in April. But the team guarantees that they are not worried about that.
“I am pretty sure all the girls love to play Fed Cup together and we leave Catanduva with the feeling we would like to play the Group I again right away,” commented the Brazilian captain Carla Tiene. “I think we will come back stronger next year. The girls are going to feel more mature and the nerves won’t be an issue anymore.”