Greece end in sixth place at Fed Cup
Play in the Fed Cup’s Europe/Africa Zone Group I wrapped up on Saturday, with Greece finishing in sixth place out of eight teams.
The Greeks took on Turkey in a rather meaningless consolation round, to determine 5th-6th places. Greek number one Maria Sakkari sat out, as she had sealed the win over Slovenia to avoid relegation just hours before, and it was not necessary for her to come back the next morning to compete. This meant that Greek number three Despina Papamichail would get the chance to play Turkey’s Ipek Soylu, the world number 516 with a career-high ranking of 151.
It also happened to be Papamichail’s 26th birthday, and she was looking for her first win over the Turk, having lost their only previous meeting back in 2014. The birthday girl from Preveza in Epirus dropped the first set 6-3, but came back to win the second set 6-2. She would also go on to win the third set 6-2 to put Greece up 1-0 overall and improve her career Fed Cup singles record to 11-4.
In the second match, Valentini Grammatikopoulou took on 19-year-old Berfu Cengiz, the world number 331. Like Papamichail, Grammatikopoulou was also celebrating her birthday, as she turned 22. Unfortunately for her, she was forced to retire from the match due to illness while trailing 5-3 in the first set. This meant that the doubles match would decide the winner.
Papamichail came back for the doubles match, teaming up with 17-year-old Anna Arkadianou. Turkey played Cengiz with Ipek Oz. The Turks went up 5-1 in the first set, but the Greeks would fight back to force a tiebreak. The Greek pair would then go up 4-1 in the tiebreak, before ultimately losing it 8-6. Cengiz and Oz then took the second set 6-4 to clinch the 2-1 win and a fifth place finish for Turkey.
In the relegation play-off, Slovenia defeated Georgia, while Great Britain defeated Serbia in the promotion play-off. In the other pool, Estonia beat Denmark in the relegation play-off, and Russia beat Sweden to gain promotion. In Group II, Austria and Luxembourg gained promotion and will be competing with Greece in Group I next year.
TURKEY 2, GREECE 1
Despina Papamichail (Greece) def. Ipek Soylu (Turkey) 3-6 6-2 6-2
Berfu Cengiz (Turkey) def. Valentini Grammatikopoulou (Greece) 5-3 ret.
Cengiz/Oz (Turkey) def. Arkadianou/Papamichail (Greece) 7-6(6) 6-4