Teenager Vivian Yang named to New Zealand women’s tennis team for Billie Jean Cup

Teenager Vivian Yang, pictured at a junior tournament in Auckland in 2019, has been named to New Zealand's senior women's tennis team.

David Joseph / www.phototek.nz

Teenager Vivian Yang, pictured at a junior tournament in Auckland in 2019, has been named to New Zealand’s senior women’s tennis team.

Vivian Yang is set to make her Billie Jean King Cup debut aged 17 alongside an experienced trio from the New Zealand women’s tennis team.

Captain Marina Erakovic has named Yang alongside Paige Hourigan, (446 singles) Valentina Ivanov (1359 singles) and Erin Routliffe (1280 singles 33 doubles) for the Asia Oceania Group 1 tournament in Antalya, Turkey next month.

Hourigan, Ivanov and Routliffle helped the team win the Asia/Oceania Group 2 tournament in February 2020.

Yang has impressed on the ITF Junior Tour where she is ranked 131 and reached the semi-finals of the Grade 1 tournament in Thailand last week.

Tennis New Zealand

New Zealand Fed Cup captain Marina Erakovic looks back on a successful day in 2020.

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Fed Cup winning team New Zealand, after beating the Philippines in the final at the Renouf Center in Wellington on February 8, 2020. Erin Routliffe, Emily Fanning, Kelly Southwood, Marina Erakovic, Valentina Ivanov, Paige Hourigan.

Greg Moller/Tennis NZ

Fed Cup winning team New Zealand, after beating the Philippines in the final at the Renouf Center in Wellington on February 8, 2020. Erin Routliffe, Emily Fanning, Kelly Southwood, Marina Erakovic, Valentina Ivanov, Paige Hourigan.

“We have a strong team heading to Turkey. All of these girls have been training and competing well over the past six months. They have some matches under their belt, and some are coming from recent events on clay as well, which will be great for the conditions there. Erakovic said.

“Vivian is one of our best upcoming young players. She has improved tremendously over the past two years and is gaining experience day by day with her recent playing schedule. Although she is young, she is a major asset to the team.

Two teams from the six-team tournament are promoted to the playoffs and two teams are relegated to Asia-Oceania Group 2.

New Zealand Fed Cup captain Marina Erakovic gives advice to Valentina Ivanov in 2020.

Greg Moller/Tennis NZ

New Zealand Fed Cup captain Marina Erakovic gives advice to Valentina Ivanov in 2020.

Yang will be the youngest member of the New Zealand squad by three years – Ivanov is 20, Hourigan 25 and Routliffe 26.

New Zealand will have their work cut out for them being the lowest ranked team at 35. Japan, despite lacking the services of top singles players Naomi Osaka and Misaki Doi, are the 18th seed with China 22nd, South Korea 28th, India 30th and Indonesia 32nd.

While New Zealand are expected to field a solid doubles combination led by Routliffe who is ranked 33rd, the format sees the two singles matches played first with the doubles only played if it’s an all.

“We definitely have a challenge ahead of us.” Erakovic said. “There are tough teams in this group and we will definitely have to raise our level. But as they say, anything can happen in tennis. We just have to focus on ourselves and take it one game, one point at a time.

The tournament is played from April 12 to 16 outdoors on red clay.

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