Shvedova leads Kazakhs to emotional victory in Cordoba

16/04/2021 17:00

Yaroslava Shvedova captained her team on and off the court to a memorable victory over Argentina

Shvedova leads Kazakhs to emotional victory in Cordoba

Yaroslava Shvedova captained her team on and off the court to a memorable victory over Argentina to book a place in the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Qualifiers in 2022.

The hosts, meanwhile, will return to Americas Group I from where they will look to bounce back next season.

In the first match on Saturday, the battle of the No. 1s, Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina overcame Nadia Podoroska 6-4 6-4 before Lourdes Carle clinched victory over Yulia Putintseva 6-7(3) 7-6(3) ret. After the visitor couldn’t continue due to cramp in her legs.

The deciding doubles was all Kazakhstan. Captain Shvedova left her chair and donned her shirt alongside Anna Danilina to defeat Podoroska and Carle 6-0 7-5 in match where the visiting side were better from the first moment, even though Argentina did have a set point in the second set.

“It was a long tie,” said Shvedova., “accentuated by the injuries, the public created a great atmosphere and we are very happy to take this victory home with us.”

Rybakina’s power proved the difference in the opening match on Saturday and from that base she could build her victory over Podoroska.

The Argentine No. 1 tried to hit deep in the opening set, which paid dividends at times, but Podoroska wasn’t precise enough which allowed her opponent to make inroads.

The first set was very even, the break coming right at the end of it, but in the second Rybakina ran out to a 4-1 lead before Podoroska came fighting back.

After her victory, Rybakina said that on Friday, during her loss to Carle, she had suffered from heat stroke but added: “when I got back to the hotel I started to feel better”.

Podoroska, obviously upset not to have won in front of her home fans, said: “against the power of Rybakina I couldn’t play with angles and make her run to take away her rhythm.”

In the second match, despite a quick start from Carle that saw her jump to a 2-0 lead, Putintseva began to dominate the rallies and moved 4-2 up herself.

Putintseva seemed to be in a battle with herself, and as she began to make more errors, so it was that Carle was able to force a tiebreak, but at this crucial time, the Kazazh was more clinical.

Putintseva raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set and looked to be more at ease as every game passed but, then it happened…

The Kazakh started showing signs of discomfort at 4-2 up in the second set and even left the court abruptly with her opponent serving at 40-30, despite protests from Argentine captain Mercedes Paz.

From then on, Putintseva’s condition worsened and her legs would simply not respond. Unable to jump, she was forced to serve underarm and at the start of the third set her body gave up. Receiving treatment on the floor, she was forced to retire.

Paz said: “we were very close to winning this tie and I am very proud of my players, more than I am upset about losing. This is all part of a process that began back in 2009 and there will be tough times ahead.”