BRATISLAVA, April 17, 2016
The Canadian Fed Cup team fell 3-2 to Slovakia in their Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II playoff tie at the Aegon Arena in Bratislava. Dominika Cibulkova propelled Slovakia to victory thanks to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC) in the fourth match. In the third match, Françoise Abanda (Montreal) gave Canada its first point after a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over Jana Cepelova, who replaced Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Sharon Fichman (Toronto) and Charlotte Robillard-Millette (Blainville, QC) won the doubles rubber 6-3, 0-6, 10-8 over Cepelova and Tereza Mihalikova. The win was Robillard-Millette’s first of her Fed Cup career.
Abanda delivered a solid performance to earn her third career Fed Cup victory. The 19-year-old trailed 1-3 in the opening set before reeling off three straight games and she never looked back. From 5-5 in the first set she won six consecutive games to lead 7-5, 4-0. Abanda hit 24 winners in the match.
Cibulkova followed up with a virtually flawless performance against Wozniak. The world no. 38 dominated from the back of the court, hitting 24 winners, including 18 off the forehand wing. She also limited her unforced errors to 15 compared to Wozniak who had 28. Cibulkova collected two of the three points needed for her country. The Slovak is riding a high having arrived in Bratislava after winning the title at the WTA event in Katowice last week.
The loss means that Canada will be relegated to the Americas Zone Group I competition for 2017. A first since 2013.
“I was a bit surprised that the Slovak team chose Jana Cepelova for today’s match. I think the fact that I played a strong match yesterday against Cibulkova helped me for today. I played very aggressive tennis through the whole match, which is my style of play. I was efficient and served well. Cepelova is a very good player and I was expecting her to get a lot of balls back, but I stayed alert.”
– Françoise Abanda
“Our players gave everything they had. Françoise played a very good match which could be a positive for her future. It was more difficult for Aleksandra. We thought she would be able to recover after her long battle yesterday, but from the start of the match she felt like she couldn’t move very well. But, you have to hand it to Dominika Cibulkova and the way she played. She was engaged from the get go and didn’t give anything away.”
-Sylvain Bruneau, Captain of the Canadian Fed Cup team.
“I am honoured to be able to get the winning point for my team. We have had some devastating losses over the past few years, so I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen this time. I was aggressive from the start of the match. I knew that Aleksandra could be tired after her long match yesterday, so I wanted to make the most of that.”
“After my practice last night, my captain told me that I would play the first match today. I had a good star, but after a few errors, she started to play really well. The crucial points were played at the end of the first set. After that, she made the most of the momentum she had.”
“We are very happy with our weekend. We knew it wouldn’t be easy against an experienced player like Aleksandra Wozniak and a young player with a lot of potential in Françoise Abanda. I am proud of the way my players carried themselves on the court.”
– Matej Liptak, Captain of the Slovak Fed Cup team