The Malta women’s national team retained its place in the prestigious Group 2 of the Billie Jean King Cup when they overcame the challenge of South Africa, in Lisbon, Portugal.
After four days of gruelling matches, where Malta always gave its opponents a big challenge, it was down to the tie against the strong South Africans to determine who stays up in this prestigious group.
As always Elaine Genovese took to the court first against Marie-Louise Van Zyl.
After having won her last match against Israel, Genovese started more confidently than usual and was applying controlled pressure on her opponent from the first rally.
She was also more patient and chose the right moments to be more aggressive.
This helped Elaine to see the match out and win convincingly 6-3, 6-1.
Next up was a still not fully fit Francesca Curmi against the tricky South African, Suzanne Pretorius.
Curmi played her usual superb tennis and was dictating play from the baseline in the majority of the rallies. This helped her close out the first set 6-2.
After racing to a 4-0 lead in the second set, the Maltese player started struggling with her movement and had to call the physio with the score at 4-3.
As she has done all week, Curmi somehow found the inner strength and energy to raise her level again and close out the set and match for a final 6-2, 6-3 scoreline.
In a statement, the Malta Tennis Federation said that Captain Steve Caruana couldn’t hide his satisfaction after ensuring that the team stayed in this prestigious group on their debut year.
Caruana concluded that he was very proud of the players’ commitment and fighting qualities, a fact also remarked upon by several other coaches present for this event.
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