Team South Africa picked up their second straight win, storming to a 3-0 victory over Azerbaijan in the Billie Jean King Cup Euro-Africa Group III tournament in Vilnius, Lithuania on Wednesday, 16 June 2021.
Teenager Lara van der Merwe was in fine form, with the 18-year-old coasting to a straight-sets 6-1, 6-2 win over Alina Gavrish.
The country’s leading women’s player Chanel Simmonds followed suit and continued her dominance with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Umayra Hashimova in the other singles match.
Van der Merwe then paired up with Delien Kleinhans for a comfortable 6-0, 6-0 win over Alina Guseynova and Zuleykha Safarova to secure the whitewash.
“The scores might not reflect it, but today’s match was tougher than yesterday. The ladies were able to raise their level today and barely gave away any free points. I’m proud of the whole team and the way they’ve been competing,” commented Team Captain Roxanne Clarke.
Team South Africa, the Group F favorites had also bagged a 3-0 win over Namibia on Tuesday’s opening day.
They face Montenegro in their third and final group match on Thursday.
“We are going into our tie against Montenegro with confidence. We have a great opportunity to come out the top team in our group and progress to the playoffs,” added Clarke.
The top teams in each group will progress to the playoffs, with the top two teams ultimately gaining promotion to Group II next season.
South Africa bt Azerbaijan 3-0
Lara van der Merwe (RSA) bt Alina Gavrish (AZR) 6-1, 6-2
Chanel Simmonds (RSA) bt Umayra Hashimova (AZR) 6-1, 6-0
Lara van der Merwe / Delien Kleinhans (RSA) bt Alina Guseynova / Zuleykha Safarova (ARZ) 6-0, 6-0
Photo 1 Caption: Team South Africa Billie Jean King Cup Captain Roxanne Clarke. Photo: Picture Café / File photo
With editing by gsport