“This win makes us hungry for more.”
The Guam Women’s National Tennis Team on Wednesday won its first-ever Fed Cup tennis match against Turkmenistan in Wellington, New Zealand.
The tournament, presented by BNP Paribas, an eight-team round-robin format, is a Group II Asia/Oceania contest.
“There is no greater honor than to represent my home island while playing the sport I love,” said Katie Lai, a singles player for team Guam. “This win, against Turkmenistan, puts Guam on the map, and we’ll hopefully have many more Fed Cup showings in the future.”
“I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and represent Guam many times throughout my tennis career, but playing at the Fed Cup is a whole other level,” she added. “I want to thank the Guam National Tennis Federation for always supporting me and granting me the opportunity to represent my island another time.”
Torgun Smith, the president of the Guam National Tennis Federation, is excited for Team Guam.
Team Guam, a three-player squad, is made up of Lai, Nadine Del Carmen, ann Charlayne Espinosa.
“I am thrilled for the Guam girls team to make history, winning their first Fed Cup tie 3-0,” he said.
For Katie Lai, hearing Smith’s words hit hard – even harder than her forehand.
“While I knew this is Guam’s first-ever Fed Cup team, it didn’t register until Torgun said my win was the first Fed Cup win in Guam history,” Katie Lai said. “That has a nice ring to it, what an honor.”
In Group B, joining Guam and Turkmenistan are Thailand and the Philippines.
Pakistan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Mongolia are in Pool A.
On Day 1, after getting swept by the Philippines, Guam recovered on Day 2 and blanked Turkmenistan, 3-0.
Katie Lai, in the first Day 2 rubber, defeated Arzuv Klycheva 6-2, 6-1. In the second singles match, Del Carmen defeated Bahar Toymyradova 6-3, 7-6(3).
In doubles, Katie Lai and Del Carmen defeated Rozhan Karajayeva 7-5, 6-0.
“We were gunning for the upset against Turkmenistan, so I knew how critical winning the first singles match of the day would be in terms of setting the tone for the rest of the matches,” Katie Lai said. “I executed the job, and it gave the team good momentum and confidence going into the second singles match.”
Tomorrow, Team Guam will play Thailand, and Sam Lai enters the contest with realistic expectations. Guam, the most recent team to join Fed Cup, will have to take its lumps.
“We are the newest team,” Sam Lai Said. “We know it’s almost impossible to beat countries like Thailand, New Zealand, Singapore, or the Philippines.”
We just didn’t want to finish last, Sam Lai said.
“By beating Turkmenistan today, in our four-team group, we are guaranteed to finish at least No. 6 out of eight countries.”
For Katie Lai, a loss is not guaranteed. She, and the team, are going to give it everything they’re got.
“Seeded fourth in our pool, we’re the underdog,” she said. “This win makes us hungry for more.”
Source: Matt Weiss. “Lai, Del Carmen cement Guam’s first Fed Cup win” The Guam Daily Post, 6 February 2020, www.postguam.com/sports/local/lai-del-carmen-cement-guam-s-first-fed-cup-win/article_294a47d4-47e2-11ea-9cbb-8b5b3c972e23.html