Thailand fail to make grade in the Fed Cup
Thailand's campaign to return to the Fed Cup World Group II collapsed yesterday after they fell to Taiwan 0-3 in the knock-out stage of the Zone Asia/Oceania Qualifying Group I at the Scenic Circles Hotel Tennis Centre, in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Thai players had only themselves to blame for the disappointing defeat, as Napaporn Tongsalee and Tamarine Tanasugarn squandered their leads in the singles ties.
Napaporn, after handing the first set to the 160th-ranked Chan Chin-wei 4-6, jumped to a 4-0 lead in the second set only to let errors creep into her game, and lost 7-5 in the first singles clash.
Tamarine, No 68 in the world, took on old rival Hsieh Su-wei, whom she barely had difficulties with in their previous meetings, but that was not the case yesterday. They split the first two sets, with the Thai winning the opener 6-4, and the Taiwanese ta1king the second 7-5.
After a break, Tamarine came back in the third set as she raced to a 3-0 lead, but inconsistency and lack of stamina cost her the game. The weary Tamarine lost the decider 4-6, which saw Taiwan take the slot into the World Group II play-off.
In the meaningless doubles, Montinee Tangphong and Nungnudda Wanansuk went down to Yi Chen and Hwang I-hsuan 6-7 (5-7) 2-6.
Despite the loss, Thai captain Vittaya Samrej was quite pleased that his team remained in Zone Asia/Oceania Group I.
"Our players did their best but we have to accept that Taiwanese players were better at crucial points. At least we reached the target by staying in Group I and hope to do better next year." Thailand last appeared in the World Group II in 2006, but were relegated to the regional qualifier after losing to the Slovak Republic last July.