Emily Fanning proud of Junior Billie Jean King Cup team

Thursday, 16 May 2024

New Zealand Junior Billie Jean King Cup captain Emily Fanning said she was proud of the team after the 2-0 defeat to Korea on Thursday.

Lucia Gale lost 6-2 6-4 to Yesung Choo and Aishi Das was defeated by Sun A Lee 6-3 6-3. The doubles match wasn’t played.

The result means New Zealand will play out for the fifth to eighth positions at this Asia/Oceania tournament in Kazakhstan, but can’t qualify for the world finals.

“After a really long rain delay, we took to the court at about 5pm,” Fanning said. 

“The girls competed really well, they had chances, but the Korean team was really tough, gave us nothing, no free points and they stepped up and played better on the big points.”

Although the matches were won in straight sets by Korea, they were both lengthy battles, with the New Zealand players leaving everything out on the court.

“Lucia did really well to compete after her sickness earlier in the week and overall the girls have had a great week,” Fanning said.

“It’s a tough ask for Kiwis to qualify for the world competition, especially after travelling the furthest, and to compete on clay as well, it’s a surface that none of the girls grew up on. It plays very differently to hard court.

“It was really tough to back up the performance they had yesterday against China.

“Aishi was on court for about five hours and the girls had a really close doubles match, in a live tie, to see who would finish first in our group.

“The girls gave everything emotionally and physically in the heat, so it was tough to back up that performance, but the reality of this competition is that you have to back up performances like that and unfortunately we didn’t get the result today.”

New Zealand next plays India, who lost 2-1 to Japan on Thursday and although it’s no longer possible to qualify for the World finals, Fanning says there’s still plenty to play for.

“I’m very proud of their effort and attitude this week,” she said.

“We’ve still got a couple more days of competition, so hopefully we can continue building, playing and competing well.”

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