KITAKYUSHU – Spain’s Georgina Garcia-Perez, ranked 161st in the world, drove a stake through Japan’s heart on Sunday by completing wins in all three of her matches for a 3-2 victory in their Fed Cup World Group II first-round tie.
Forced to play doubles due to a teammate’s injury, Garcia-Perez completed her remarkable weekend at Kitakyushu Sogo Gymnastic Hall by partnering with 16th-ranked doubles player Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez to beat Miyu Kato and Makoto Ninomiya 6-1, 6-3.
“They didn’t allow us to play the kind of doubles we wanted to,” Ninomiya said. “They threw us off our game, but we could have done more.”
Garcia-Perez’s heroics began on Saturday. With Spain already trailing host Japan 1-0, the 26-year-old came back to win her first career Fed Cup singles match and even the tie at 1-1.
On Sunday, Japan reclaimed the lead 2-1, when Kurumi Nara, 27, captured the third singles rubber by beating 31-year-old Silvia Soler-Espinosa 7-6(3), 6-4.
Facing elimination, Garcia-Perez defeated Nao Hibino 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 to pull Spain even at 2-2. The 24-year-old Hibino, also a first-day winner, is ranked 123rd.
Following an injury to Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, Garcia-Perez was forced to play doubles, where she finished what she had started in singles.
“We weren’t able to establish any rhythm in our return games, so breaks were really hard to come by,” Japan captain Toshihisa Tsuchihashi said. “That they were able to put real pressure on our serves was huge.”
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5