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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Tennis Canada- Dabrowski and Zhao fall in deciding doubles match; Team will now compete in a World Group II play-off in April 

Quebec City, February 7, 2016 – Following a 3-2 loss to Belarus in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II first round on Sunday, in a tie that went to a deciding doubles rubber, the Canadian Fed Cup team will now be forced to compete in a play-off tie to avoid relegation. Entering the day tied 1-1, Francoise Abanda (Montreal) earned the go-ahead victory 6-4, 6-4 over world No. 74 Olga Govortsova before Aliaksandra Sasnovich forced a fifth and deciding match with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, Que.). Govortsova and Sasnovich then teamed up to complete the comeback from 2-1 down with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa) and Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, Ont.) at PEPS on the campus of Laval University in Quebec City.

Gold medallists at the Pan Am Games last year, Dabrowski and Zhao have enjoyed success together, but Govortsova and Sasnovich (who was a replacement for the originally nominated Vera Lapko) showed their overall experience in the deciding doubles rubber – combined they have played 41 Fed Cup ties to Dabrowski and Zhao’s eight. The Belarusians cruised to the first set as Dabrowski and Zhao did not hold their serve until the first game of the second set. The Canadians had their chances, but Govortsova and Sasnovich maintained control for the duration of the duel, which was Zhao’s Fed Cup debut, and clinched the triumph for Belarus in one hour and nine minutes.

The deciding doubles rubber was required after the teams split the day’s two singles matches. Abanda opened the day on a strong note with her win over Govortsova, who lost both of her singles matches this weekend. It was an up-and-down duel, lasting one hour and 41 minutes, with neither player able to wrest control through the early goings of both sets. Govortsova held 4-2 leads in the first and second sets but No. 343-ranked Abanda climbed back each time. She ultimately was the steadier player throughout the match, using her aggressive play to earn decisive breaks at the 5-4 mark of both sets to clinch the win. In total, 19-year-old Abanda went six-for-14 on break opportunities while saving four of the eight break points she faced en route to her second career Fed Cup win.

In the second match of the day, Wozniak was unable to summon the same performance that gave her a win a day earlier as she lost in one hour and 35 minutes. The first set was all even with no service breaks until Wozniak dropped her serve at the 4-5 mark. It was another close affair in the second set. Both players had broken each other twice, before Sasnovich clinched again at 5-4 for the victory. The 21-year-old, ranked world No. 99, was the rock of team Belarus through the weekend, going 3-0 in her matches. For Wozniak, it was her 50th Fed Cup contest, and it brings her record to 40-10.

Canada now must participate in a World Group II play-off, set to take place April 16-17, in order to maintain its position in the eight-team second tier of Fed Cup play for 2017. A win in April would leave Canada in World Group II for another year while a loss would drop the team down to Americas Zone Group I, a place it hasn’t been since 2013. For its part, Belarus advances into the World Group play-offs, where it will play for the chance to make World Group for the first time.

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QUOTES
 
“I executed and played the important points well. It was an important match for Canada. I was able to control my emotions. There were times when I was worried because she was playing better, but I stayed strong and focused until the end.”

– Francoise Abanda on her victory versus Govortsova
 
“I think Sasnovich played a really solid match, and she played better than yesterday. She was mixing it up well and using her angles. She played some solid tennis and I was trying to adjust to the match and play my game. I just have to get back into the game, and get used to playing back-to-back matches in the future.”
– Aleksandra Wozniak on her loss to Sasnovich
 
“I wouldn’t say that nerves was a deciding factor why we lost. I think [Belarus] played some really good doubles. We had a plan and a strategy but we just weren’t able to execute on certain points, sometimes they got lucky with a let cord or they came up with big serves when we had break points and it’s just little things that in the end didn’t let us roll with any momentum and that was why it was a struggle for us.”
– Gabriela Dabrowski on Canada’s doubles loss
 
“I came here expecting to contribute and to play and I’m going to answer the call whenever it is needed. We both tried our best out there and sometimes you come up short but you have to learn from the experience.”
– Carol Zhao on her first Fed Cup match being a decisive rubber
 
“We were very competitive. I couldn’t have asked for much more from the girls, they gave it everything they had in all five matches. It came down to the decisive match and [Belarus] played better doubles today.”
– Canadian team captain Sylvain Bruneau on the tie as a whole
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LOOKING AHEAD TO 2017
 
Canada will compete in the World Group II play-offs on April 16-17, 2016. The official draw to determine the match-ups will take place on Tuesday February 9.
 
These are the other seven nations who will be competing in the World Group play-offs. The teams will be seeded, with the top four countries drawn against the bottom four. New ITF Nations Rankings will be released on Monday, with Canada currently ranked No. 12.
 

NATION

HOME/AWAY

ITF NATIONS RANKING

SERBIA

AWAY

No. 10

POLAND

DRAW

No. 11

SLOVAKIA

AWAY

No. 13

ARGENTINA

AWAY

No. 18

UKRAINE

HOME

No. 30

BELGIUM

HOME

No. 33

CHINESE TAIPEI

DRAW

No. 49

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FINAL RESULTS
 
Fed Cup World Group II – First Round
Canada vs. Belarus
February 6-7, 2016
PEPS, Laval University, Quebec City
Belarus wins 3-2  

 

Date

Event

Match/Result

Saturday February 6

First Singles Rubber

Sasnovich d. Abanda 6-4, 2-6, 6-3

Saturday February 6

Second Singles Rubber

Wozniak d. Govortsova 6-2, 6-2

Sunday February 7

Third Singles Rubber

Abanda d. Govortsova 6-4, 6-4

Sunday February 7

Fourth Singles Rubber

Sasnovich d. Wozniak 6-4, 6-4

Sunday February 7

Doubles Rubber

Govortsova/Sasnovich d. Dabrowski/Zhao 6-2, 6-4

 

About Fed Cup by BNP Paribas
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 101 nations entered in 2016. The competition is 53 years old having been founded in 1963. The title sponsor is BNP Paribas, the Official Bank of Fed Cup. International sponsors are Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Adecco (Official HR Sponsor) and Betway (Official Betting Sponsor). beIN SPORTS is the Official Global Media Rights Partner. Follow all the action on www.fedcup.com, www.fedcup.com/es,www.twitter.com/fedcup, www.facebook.com/FedCupwww.Weibo.com/fedcupofficial and www.fedcup.tv.
 
About Tennis Canada
Founded in 1890, Tennis Canada is a non-profit, national sport association with a mission to lead the growth of tennis in Canada and a vision to become a world-leading tennis nation. We value teamwork, passion, integrity, innovation and excellence. Tennis Canada owns and operates the premier Rogers Cup presented by National Bank WTA and ATP World Tour events, 10 professional ITF sanctioned events and financially supports 12 other professional tournaments in Canada. Tennis Canada operates junior national training centres/programs in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Tennis Canada is a proud member of the International Tennis Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the International Wheelchair Tennis Association, and serves to administer, sponsor and select the teams for Davis Cup, Fed Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and all wheelchair, junior and senior national teams. Tennis Canada invests its surplus into tennis development. For more information on Tennis Canada please visit our Web site at: www.tenniscanada.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
 

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