summary from Fedcup.com
EILAT, ISRAEL: Poland’s hard work finally paid off in Eilat on Saturday and they earned a deserved play-off place at the end of their campaign in the Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group I event.
Sisters Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska, who carried the burden for the Polish team allowed themselves a warm smile at the end of a very tough week after they overcame up-and-coming Croatia in a thrilling climax to play on what should have been the final evening of the event.
Proceedings will conclude on Sunday morning when Great Britain and Bulgaria compete for the second play-off spot.
Croatia’s young No. 2 player, Ana Konjuh, just 15, put on a dazzling performance in her singles against Urszula Radwanska to set up a possible upset in the tie.
Konjuh, the Australian Open junior champion and a youngster, who looks to have a very bright future as a player, battled back from losing the first set 62, to win the next two 63 76(3) with some blistering groundstrokes and a powerful serve that left Urszula needing to draw on all her skills to try to keep in the running, but Konjuh had just enough to do the business and close out the match in a long tie break.
Elder sister Agnieszka pulled the tie level when she secured victory 63 62 over Croatian No. 1 Donna Vekic with her usual assured and competent play, running the hard-hitting Croat around the court until she made the error.
The two Polish sisters then teamed up to complete victory in the doubles with Urszula showing excellent tactical awareness and good work at the net, with a 62 64 win over Konjuh and Darija Jurak despite the Croats leading in both sets following early breaks.
“We were really playing well all week and I’m very excited to finally go up and we will try to stay up longer than we did last time,” Agnieszka said.
Captain Tomasz Wiktorowszki said the path to qualification was very tough but he credited both sisters for their hard work throughout.
“I think we had the strongest group… we had very difficult matches but Aga did an amazing job and she was our leader but I’m also very proud of Ula because she was a little shaky during the week but she played very well when it counted today,” Wiktorowszki said.