Weakened by the withdrawals of six of the country's top seven players, Switzerland's Fed Cup tennis team finally succumbed to Australia on Monday at the end of a rain-extended second round tie.This content was published on July 23, 2001 - 08:24
Playing with three youngsters ranked outside of the world's top 400, Swiss hopes for an unlikely victory over an experienced Australian side had faded fast on Saturday, when Myriam and Daniela Casanova lost their opening singles rubbers.
Constant rain in Sydney then wiped out Sunday's programme and forced the organisers to move the remaining matches onto hardcourts on Monday.
The change of surface appeared briefly to revitalise the Swiss team, with Myriam Casanova pulling off an upset by beating Alicia Molik in two sets (7-6, 6-4) and earning Switzerland its first point of the tie.
But a second singles win for Nicole Pratt, this time over Geneva's Aliénor Tricerri, wrapped up overall victory for the Australians even before the closing doubles rubber had been played.
That match too was too go the way of the home side, with Rachel McQuillan and Evie Dominikovic seeing off Tricerri and Daniela Casanova in straight sets (6-3, 6-3), to complete an untroubled 4-1 win for Australia.
Before leaving for Sydney, Switzerland captain Jakob Hlasek told swissinfo that he was "ashamed" to be leading such an inexperienced side, following the withdrawals of stars such as Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder.
Hlasek, who was recently sacked as Switzerland's Davis Cup captain, also hinted that he would be considering "other interests" if his difficulties with the country's top players continued.
by Mark Ledsom
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