Lucy Shuker, Louise Hunt and Lauren Jones took Great Britain to victory in the women’s event at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup European Qualification on Vilamoura, Portugal. The competition took place over five days, from 11th to 15th April.
Great Britain have now qualified for the finals of the 2018 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, from 28 May to 3 June.
SUNDAY, 15 APRIL – DAY 5 – GREAT BRITAIN bt RUSSIA 2-1
Great Britain’s women claimed a dramatic late-night doubles rubber to seal victory on the last day of play in Vilamoura, thereby confirming their qualification for the 2018 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Apeldoorn, Netherlands
With rain causing long delays to the start of the deciding round-robin tie against second seeds Russia, Lucy Shuker and Louise Hunt played their two singles rubbers simultaneously on adjacent courts. Shuker beat Viktoriia Lvova 6-3, 6-1, but Hunt’s only loss of the week saw Ludmila Bubnova take the other singles contest 7-5, 6-2.
Two rain breaks interrupted the crucial deciding doubles rubber, but Hunt and Shuker battled valiantly to earn Great Britain the victory against Lvova and Polina Shakirova 7-5, 6-1 at just after midnight.
Smiling through the pain of an extremely long day that started at 5:30am and finished on court at 12:04am this morning… https://t.co/NllODUUoDv
— Lucy Shuker (@lucy_shuker) April 16, 2018
“It’s been a long day, obviously the weather’s not been great, but we’re happy that we managed to come through. I had a good singles earlier and I think Louise and I doubled up really well,” said Shuker
“There were a lot of emotions (today) and I agree with Lucy, I think we played a fantastic match together and I’m just super happy that we got the result. We came here to win and that’s what we’ve done,” said Hunt, who started the week by winning her first two singles rubbers 6-0, 6-0.
“It’s always an honour to represent your country, I’ve been here as part of the team this week and haven’t been the first selected, being the newest member of the team and the lowest ranked. So for me it has been about getting the job done and performing well when given the chance, which is what I have done, and making sure I can do everything in my power to support the girls when they have played to help them perform to their best ability. I think I managed to do this, especially on the final day of play, which was long and tough.” added Hunt and Shuker’s teammate Lauren Jones.
“We were very careful before we came away to establish what our intentions were going to be for each day. So we made sure we knew what each of the players needed, what they felt they would need to prepare their best and then to play their best,” said Team Captain Smith.
“We’ve just pulled together as a team to make sure that everyone helped each other out and hopefully that showed that we could pull off the results when we needed them. Sometimes the Brits, we quite like being the underdogs, so to come in knowing that everyone was gunning for us and was looking to take us down was always going to be tricky. But we knew that as long as we were professional and we did our planning and our diligence around the opposition, we thought we had a good chance. As a team I think we’ve really gelled this week and that gives us confidence going to Holland. I couldn’t be more proud of any one of them.”
SATURDAY, 14 APRIL – DAY 4 – GREAT BRITAIN bt BELGIUM 3-0
After a practice day for Great Britain on Friday, Lauren Jones won her first singles rubber of the week, beating Sofie Cox 6-2, 6-1. After back-to-back 6-0, 6-0 wins in Great Britain’s first two round-robin ties, Louise Hunt gave her country an unassailable lead against Belgium after defeating Els Verhoeven 7-5, 6-1. Jones then partnered Lucy Shuker to wrap up a third 3-0 victory for Great Britain in three contests after defeating
Great Britain now play second seeds Russia in Sunday’s crucial last round-robin tie to decide which country qualifies for the World Team Cup finals in Apeldoorn.
— Louise Hunt (@LouiseHunt1) April 14, 2018
THURSDAY, 12 APRIL – DAY 2 – GREAT BRITAIN bt SWEDEN
Great Britain made it two 3-0 wins in successive days as Louise Hunt and Lucy Shuker took to the court to earn the top seeds a clean sweep over Sweden.
Hunt secured her second 6-0, 6-0 win in as many days as she raced through the opening singles rubber against Alicia Edson. Shuker had a tougher time against Rebecka Sternisa Bellander, but pulled through 6-3, 7-6(3) to give Great Britain an unassailable lead.
After heavy rain caused a delayed start to the second day and the event’s opening ceremony was also scheduled before the on-court competition began, Hunt and Shuker completed a dominant doubles performance in fading light, beating Sanna Klindt & Sternisa Bellander 6-1, 6-2.
Friday is a practice day for Great Britain before they resume their campaign against Belgium on Saturday.
WEDNESDAY, 11 APRIL – DAY 1 – GREAT BRITAIN bt AUSTRIA 3-0
Louise Hunt gave Great Britain the best possible start to their opening round-robin tie, beating Austria’s Christine Pesendorfer 6-0, 6-0.
British No. 1 and world No. 8 Lucy Shuker put the tie beyond Austria after beating Margrit Fink 6-3, 6-1. Shuker then partnered Lauren Jones to beat Fink and Pesendorfer 6-0 , 6-1 in the doubles rubber. The trio’s win came on a day when new Tennis Foundation Disability Performance Director Matt Hammond joined the GB support team in Vilamoura.
Great Britain play Sweden on Friday in the second of their four round-robin ties.
Great Britain have a long history of success at the World Team Cup, with all three players in Vilamoura having won gold, silver or bronze medals whilst representing their country in either the World Team Cup women’s or junior competitions over the last decade.
Captained by the Tennis Foundation’s Performance Development Coach Ash Smith, Great Britain are top seeds. They will face women’s teams from Austria, Belgium, Russia and Sweden in round-robin competition over the five days of play in Vilamoura, with Austria first up on Wednesday.