Teen Vivian Yang named in NZ women’s tennis team for Billie Jean Cup

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

David Joseph / www.phototek.nz

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

Vivian Yang is on the brink of making her Billie Jean King Cup debut at 17 alongside an experienced New Zealand women’s tennis team trio.

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 at Antalya in 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 circuit where she is ranked 131 and reached the semi-finals at the Grade 1 tournament in Thailand last week.

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The victorious New Zealand Fed Cup team, after defeating 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

The victorious New Zealand Fed Cup team, after defeating 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 these girls have been training and competing well over the last six months. They have matches under their belts, and some are also coming from recent clay court events, which will be great for the conditions there. ” Erakovic said.

“Vivian is one of our best young players coming through. She has improved massively over the past two years and is gaining experience by the day with her recent playing schedule. Even though she is young, she is a huge 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 Valentina Ivanov some advice in 2020.

Greg Moller / Tennis NZ

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

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

New Zealand will have their work cut being the lowest ranked team at 35. Japan, although they don’t have the services of their top singles players Naomi Osaka and Misaki Doi, are the top seeds ranked 18th with China 22nd, South Korea 28th, India 30th and Indonesia 32nd.

While New Zealand should field a strong doubles combination led by Routliffe who is ranked 33, the format sees the two singles matches played first with the doubles only played if it’s one all.

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

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

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