Poland’s Chwalinska optimistic for the future by Tom Moran
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: With three wins from three singles matches this week, it’s little surprise that Maja Chwalinska is in a confident mood. On Thursday, she fought back from a set down to set Poland on its way to reach the semifinals of the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.
"I’m very happy I did it," she smiled after her latest win, a 36 61 75 triumph over Canada’s Isabelle Boulais. That smile would grow even larger when Iga Swiatek defeated Bianca Vanessa Andreescu to seal the tie for Poland in the second rubber. Canada did manage some consolation late in the day when Andreescu and Boulais overcame Chwalinska and Stefania Rogozinska-Dzik in the doubles 46 64 10-5.
"It was a pretty tough match for me," said Chwalinska, after her singles rubber. "In the beginning I had big problems with her forehand. At the finish, she started to play less aggressive, so I started to play more aggressive and she made too many mistakes, I think."
The fight back was all the more impressive given that Boulais was 5-3 ahead in the decider. "I told myself: 'I have to win for the team'," Chwalinska explained. That’s exactly what she did – reeling off four games in a row to leave the Canadian stunned.
Chwalinska’s game is reminiscent of Poland’s starlet, Agnieszka Radwanska. At just 14-years-old and diminutive in stature, Chwalinska recognises that she cannot always compete with the power of some of her older, stronger opponents, so has developed a crafty, intelligent way of playing the game to compensate for what she lacks in strength.
"A lot of drop shots, slice," she said, when asked to describe her game. That certainly threw Boulais, who hits the ball hard off both wings – ultimately, she could not compete with the variety that the Pole brought to the court.
Poland’s attention now turns to the semifinals, where the team will take on top seeds Russia. But with such a young team, the Poles can certainly be positive about the future regardless of the result against the Russians on Saturday.
"We are maybe one of the youngest teams here," said Chwalinska. All three of Poland’s team members were born in 2001, whereas all other teams here have at least one member born in 2000.
"I think that we will all keep working hard and play, play, play," she added. "Maybe we will be like Agnieszka Radwanska in the future but we will see."
Polish captain Mikolaj Weymann shared those sentiments. "They have to work," he said, but added that he thought this week had already been an important step in his team’s young careers: "It’s a big experience, this tournament."
At the end of a long day, the overall feeling for Weymann was one of pride. "I’m very proud, they made a very good job. It was a very tough match, Canada is a very, very tough team," he said.
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