The New Zealand Fed Cup tennis team has thrashed Pakistan 3-nil to finish 5th at the Fed Cup Asia Oceania Group Two tournament in Bahrain.
Jade Lewis crushed Mahin Qureshi 6-1 6-0 before Erin Routliffe beat Ushna Suhail 6-3 6-1. Emily Fanning and Katherine Westbury teamed up to win the doubles rubber 6-3 6-1 over Sarah Mahboob Khan and Qureshi.
Captain Neil Carter says it was a solid team performance. "Jade had an excellent win while Erin was still not 100 percent but got the job done. The K tape from her niggle created a painful rash. Without the tape she didn't feel quite so confident on serve. Emily and Katherine turned in a convincing performance."
The team will now disperse and despite failing to earn promotion to Asia Oceania Group 1 for 2019, Carter says the signs are good for New Zealand women's tennis.
"The girls have come a long way in the last four weeks. Obviously having a coach on board has helped, travelling with them and trying to get them emotionally more stable". Carter said.
"Two doubles and a singles title in Egypt shows that. But it comes back to the budget of Tennis NZ and whether they can find the money. It's like any small business if you want to have success you have to invest in it. Now's the time I think."
Carter says there will be up to eight Kiwi players competing out on tour with Emily Fanning and Paige Hourigan both finishing up at their US colleges soon.
"I think we have a group of girls who want to be tennis players and we have got to find ways to support them. Even if it's only for 8, 9 or 10 weeks a year, it's important to get them started out there so they turn up to events like this really ready." Carter said.
Routliffe who kick started her singles career with an ITF Futures tournament win in Egypt last week, will now head back to her base in Canada to recharge and Carter is optimistic she can surge up the rankings over the next 12 months.
"Erin has an annual plan sorted for her which is precise and is something she has never had before. Her next step is to go back home to do some work on her fitness and game.
"She's been on the road for three months, it's a long time without seeing your family and your coach. But we have mapped out a pretty good year of tournaments for her. David Lewis has Jade organised with a good tournament schedule."