Canada faces a 0-2 deficit after Saturday’s singles of its Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II tie against Romania in Cluj-Napoca. Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, ON), Canada’s no. 1 singles player this weekend, fell 6-2, 6-2 to Sorana Cirstea while Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) was defeated 6-3, 6-7(4) et 6-2 by Irina-Camelia Begu.
Cirstea needed 54 minutes to defeat Zhao, earning five breaks of serve in the match compared to the Canadian’s one. The Romanian, ranked no. 38 in the world, also hit 16 winners while Zhao had just five. The 22-year-old Canadian was playing in her first Fed Cup singles match.
“She definitely played well, but there were a lot of things I would have liked to have done better,” Zhao said following the loss. “I wasn’t able to win a few important points in the first set and it could have made a difference if I was able to stay with her for longer.”
For her part, Andreescu erased a set and a break deficit against Begu in the second match to force a decisive third set. There was a break before the start of the final frame so that the 17-year-old Canadian could receive treatment during a medical timeout. The delay seemed to break Andreescu’s rhythm and the Romanian jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The first meeting between Andreescu and Begu last one hour, 38 minutes.
“The match today was a battle between both of us. I fought, I gave all I had and she did the same thing, but she played the important points better. I think she had more energy than I did, especially in the end,” Andreescu commented.
Canada needs to win three matches on Sunday in order to advance to the World Group I play-offs. Zhao will be first on court against Begu. That match will be followed by Andreescu vs. Cirstea. If Canada is able to level the tie at 2-2, the doubles match will decide the outcome. At Friday’s draw, Canadian captain Sylvain Bruneau nominated Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa) and Katherine Sebov (Toronto) while Romania’s captain Florin Segarceanu nominated Ana Bogan and Raluca Olaru. Captains have until one hour before the first singles match and ten minutes before the following ones to make changes to their lineup.
ZHAO versus BEGU – first meeting between the two players
|22 years old||27 years old|
|World no. 138||World no. 37|
|Career-high ranking: no. 138 (January 2018)||Career-high ranking: no. 22 (August 2016)|
|2nd Fed Cup tie||15th Fed Cup tie|
|0-2 record in Fed Cup||12-9 record in Fed Cup|
ANDREESCU versus CIRSTEA – first meeting between the two players
|17 years||27 years old|
|World no. 173||World no. 38|
|Career-high ranking: no. 143
|Career-high ranking: no. 21
|6e rencontre de la Fed Cup||18e rencontre de la Fed Cup|
|Fiche de 7-2 à la Fed Cup||Fiche de 16-12 à la Fed Cup|
|Doubles ranking||No. 11||–||No. 564||No. 45|
|Fed Cup doubles record||4-5||1-1||0-0||3-7|
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II first round tie
Canada vs. Romania
February 10-11, 2018
Sala Polivalenta Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca
|Saturday February 10||First singles match||Cirstea b. Zhao 6-2, 6-2|
|Saturday February 10||Second singles match||Begu b. Andreescu 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2|
|Sunday February 11||Third singles match||Zhao vs. Begu|
|Sunday February 11||Fourth singles match||Andreescu vs. Cirstea|
|Sunday February 11||Doubles match||Dabrowski/Sebov vs. Bogdan/Olaru|
Canada is part of World Group II for the first time since February 2016. Canada earned its best result in Fed Cup in 1988, reaching the semifinals. Canada has also reached the quarter-finals on three occasions in 1964, 1967, and 1987.
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the biggest women’s team sporting event in the world with 98 countries competing in 2018. Founded in 1963, the competition is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year.
The matches are being shown live on Sportsnet NOW.
Photos by: Kyle Clapham