06/18/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/18/2021 10:12
Bosnia & Herzegovina and Malta booked their places in the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Group III promotional play-off finals after emphatic victories over fellow group winners Ireland and South Africa.
Hosts Lithuania will face Malta on Saturday, while Norway will take on Bosnia & Herzegovina to determine which two nations will play in Europe/Africa Group II in 2022.
As the highest-ranked nations among the six Pool winners, Lithuania and Norway advanced direct to the promotion play-off finals, leaving the other four table-toppers to face off for the chance to reach the decisive clashes.
Bosnia & Herzegovina ended Ireland's unblemished record in the competition with a 3-0 victory, sealed without dropping a set. World No. 430 Dea Herdzelas continued her fine form to settle the tie before the doubles in Vilnius, where she won last week's ITF World Tennis Tour W15 event.
'I feel great here, and last week I must say I am playing some of my best tennis,' said Herdzelas, who beat Irish No. 1 Anna Bowtell 6-3 6-4. 'In this period I'm playing really, really well and I hope it will stay like this.
'I tried to stay focused as I knew we needed to win this one to make sure, because doubles is always tricky. I focused on my serve, and it worked well today.'
It was a timely return to form for Herdzelas, who lost her first singles match at the SEB Arena to Cyprus's Raluca Georgiana Serban the previous day - a timely reminder that there's still all to play for and no room for complacency heading into Saturday's play-offs decider.
'We have a lot of matches we've all played,' she said. 'We just need to fight to the end and see how it goes.'
Like Bosnia & Herzegovina, Malta had wrapped up victory over South Africa before the doubles courtesy of victories from Francesca Curmi and Helene Pellicano, who bounced back from a set down to beat Chanel Simmonds 0-6 6-2 6-4. Curmi and Eliane Genovese completed the 3-0 win with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Kelly Arends and Lara Van Der Merwe.
In the ties to determine the final standings in the 21-team competition, Montenegro will face Algeria after beating North Macedonia, while Nigeria's 2-1 win over Armenia will see them face Cyprus.
Zimbabwe's 3-0 win over Rwanda sends them through to a positional play-off with Kosovo as Azerbaijan booked a clash with Iceland after beating Albania 2-1. Ghana's 2-1 loss to Namibia sees them finish bottom of the competition, with Kenya awaiting the winners on Saturday.