Sunday,15 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1292, (21 - 27 April 2016)
Sunday,15 July, 2018
Issue 1292, (21 - 27 April 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Safe exit

Despite finishing third in its pool, Egypt escaped relegation at the Europe/Africa group II in the Federation Cup, reports Inas Mazhar

Al-Ahram Weekly

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) Europe/Africa group II of the Federation Cup was held at the newly-renovated centre court of the Gezira Club in Cairo from 12 to 16 April.

Seven countries divided into two pools took part in the women’s event. Pool A included only three countries -- Denmark, Lithuania and Finland whereas Pool B comprised Bosnia/Herzegovina, Austria, Liechtenstein and Egypt.

After four days of tough and exciting matches, Denmark, after winning its two matches in the group, topped Pool A while Austria headed Pool B after winning two matches against Egypt and Lichtenstein.

Ian Smith, ITF representative, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the event was played on a round-robin basis with the winner of each pool playing-off against the number two team in the other pool to determine which two nations would advance to the Europe/Africa Zone group I in 2017.

Smith explained that according to the regulations, when two nations score an equal number of points, the head-to-head result between those two countries decides the winner.

“Therefore, Austria finished top of Pool B and Egypt finished in third place. Liechtenstein was relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group III in 2017.”

Egypt, in third place after losing to Austria and Bosnia/Herzegovina, found itself in a critical situation and at risk of being relegated to group III. But an impressive 2-0 win over Finland in the relegation play-off saved the Egyptian girls and their coach Mohamed Ramadan and secured for them their placement among the same group II in the Europe/Africa zone.

Finland, loser of the relegation play-off against Egypt, was then relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group III in 2017 together with the nation which placed fourth in pool B, Liechtenstein.

The Egyptian team had Sandra Samir, Lamis Al-Hussein Abdel-Aziz, Dona Abu Habaga and Laila Al-Nimr.

Smith told the Weekly that he was happy with the organisation of the event. “Both the Egyptian Tennis Federation and Gezira Club did a fantastic job in providing the perfect facilities and accommodation to the teams. All went well. Egypt was awarded to host this event because it was the only country who had bid to host the competition and we are happy to be here,” Smith said.

Following its victory over Egypt, the Bosnia/Herzegovina girls told the Weekly that they were enjoying the competition and the Egyptian weather. “It’s lovely to be here. The organisation is prefect and we are enjoying the sun so much,” said Dea Herzedelas, the world’s 337 ranked player.

Egyptian Tennis Federation President Israa Al-Sahouri said she was happy the girls managed to avoid relegation. “They have gone through tough matches, playing against higher ranked nations and players as well. But the matches were a great opportunity for the girls to gain more international experience. With the exception of Sandra Samir, world No 426, the other girls are not among the ITF world seedings. Samir is our hope for a ticket in the Olympic Games but this will only be determined next month,” Al-Sanhouri said.

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