For the first time since 2004 the Malta Fed Cup team reached for a second time the play off stage for promotion to European/Africa Group II. The last and only time this had happened was when the Fed Cup Group was staged in Malta in 2004 seeing Malta bowing out to Norway.
The Maltese ladies dominated their Pool B Group B stage by beating their opponents in straight sets throughout their three encounters. On the first day Malta beat Ireland 3 rubbers to 0. In their next encounter they were due to play Uganda, whom, for travel delay reasons, did not make it to Montenegro, thus all three other nations benefited from the forfeit of their Uganda encounter.
Today Malta faced tough opposition from Morocco, a nation who in the past has always been ranked much higher than Malta in the world. Our Fed Cup team overwhelmed their opponents to qualify from their Group with 3 points for three wins in the round robin and without having dropped a set, 9 out of 9 sets won.
In the first singles rubber Francesca Curmi faced Oumaima Aziz and won her encounter with a first set score of 6/2, and at 4/1 up second set, seeing her opponent having to retire. Throughout the encounter Curmi looked very strong and her recent junior tennis World experience, which has placed her within the top 80 junior ranked players in the world, served well and totally justified her selection at the young age of 15.
In the second singles encounterElaine Genoveseoutright beat her younger Morocco opponent Rita Atik in straight sets 6/0, 6/0. Elaine was in control of her match from the very start and never looked back leaving her opponent not getting on to the scoreboard.
At this stage the 3rd doubles rubber became a mere formality as Malta had already won their encounter topping the Group. Genovese and Curmi however went on to confirm their dominance for Malta’s opportunity to play off for promotion by beating the Moroccan doubles Atik/El Jardi 7/6, 6/2.
Dr David Farrugia Sacco, the MTF President, stated that this was “another great day for Maltese Tennis. Our ladies have taken Maltese female tennis to another level with historic wins against Ireland and Morocco, and just as important, by showing incredible tennis maturity and excellently skilled talent that our team currently displays.”
Tomorrow, 19 April, the Malta Team go on to play-off for promotion against a very strong South Africa, winners of Pool B Group A, whose players carry substantial world ranking, with their number 1 player Channel Simmonds being ranked singles as number 284.