Germany flies to Fed Cup final after 22 years - UBITENNIS
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Germany flies to Fed Cup final after 22 years

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TENNIS – Fed Cup. Let’s face it: the result at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane was in discussion only till the first couple of games of the first rubber, when Germany’s Petkovic started hammering with her forehand Aussie’s Sam Stosur. Robbie Cappuccio

 

Before that, the Australian team was showing confidence. Australia has been expecting the chance for a final for over 20 years, and we must go back till 1974 to Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s days to see the green and gold team win. “I think we can win,” Aussie coach Alicia Molik said before the beginning of the tie. “It will be very clear in the Germans’ minds that Sam had the edge”, referring to last tie in Germany (2012) when Stosur defeated both Kerber (7-6, 6-4) and Petkovic (6-4, 6-1) to inspire their 3-2 upset over Germany.

The times they are a-changing. Stosur has been plummeting the WTA ranking (currently 19), and this year has only made it past the third round at one tournament  and has struggled in the past with public expectation on Australian courts, especially the Australian Open. Petkovic (28) on the contrary, was coming off a title run on clay in Charleston a couple of weeks earlier; momentum was on her side and she did not let it slip. She broke each of Stosur’s four service games in the opening set to stroll through a 6-1 opener in less than 40 minutes, hitting the ball very deep especially with a deadly forehand and helped by a flood of unforced errors by Stosur.

Stosur woke up at the beginning of the second set, breaking for 2-1 with a forehand right on the line, then moving to 5-3 and serving for the set at 5-4. It was not meant to be. Stosur dropped the serve to then finish to a tiebreak, where the German failed four match points before finishing off the match. “At least I was able to fight back after a lopsided first set, but at the end of the day that doesn’t really count for much.” said Stosur at the end of the match.

So it was to Casey Dellacqua (53) to try to even out the tie. ”I’ve had a lot of tennis, and I’ve beaten some really good players along the way throughout the year, so I feel really good,” said Dellacqua before the match with Kerber (7).

Alas, the 46 ranking difference was all there and the rubber between the two left-handers  lasted 50 minutes only with Kerber conceding one game and dismissing Dellacqua 6-1, 6-0 thus taking Germany to a 2-0 lead at the end of day 1. “They have very similar game styles.” Commented Alicia Molik. “I guess it’s just a real display of why Kerber is where she is in the rankings and why she has a single digit next to her name.”

Easter Sunday was no resurrection for the Aussie team. Stosur had to defeat Kerber to keep hopes alive, but the German prevailed 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 after a 2 hours and 6 minutes match in the opening reverse singles rubber, thus sealing the victory and admission to the final, after a 22 years wait.

Stosur looked determined and stormed to a 3-0 lead and, despite dropping serve in the seventh game, she broke back immediately to lead 5-3. The ninth game was tough going for both players, with Stosur committing a double fault on set point and Kerber converting her seventh break point opportunity to get to 5-4. A deep forehand winner in the following game sealed the set in Stosur’s favour; Sam’s forehand was finally working and the winners outnumbered the unforced errors.

However, Kerber’s response was just a brutal demolition of Australia’s hopes, with a bagel in 23 minutes.

The third set was characterized by the inability of holding serve by both players: Kerber broke Stosur again in a third game lasting more than 15 minutes to take a 2-1 lead. Stosur broke again Kerber when she served for the match up 5-2 and then held serve for a final glimpse of hope, but serving again for the tie on 5-4 the German did not fail expectations, sealing victory with an ace and booking a spot in the final. It will be Germany’s first appearance in the final since 1992’s victory  of a team led by Steffi Graf and comprising Anke Huber and one Barbara Rittner.

As a small consolation, Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua won the dead doubles rubber against Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 10-2 as Germany ended the tie 3-1 victors.

“Right now I’m just enjoying the moment that we are in the final and of course whoever is in the final against us, if it’s the Czechs or Italy, they have experience with playing a final.” commented now Germany’s coach Barbara Rittner. “They’ve both won it recently so it’s going to be a big one for us, but we will enjoy every minute of it.” It will be the Czech Republic who trashed Italy 4-0.

From Melbourne – Robbie Cappuccio

Fed Cup

Fed Cup Finals And Play-Offs Postponed Due to Coronavirus Concerns

The Fed Cup Finals and play-offs have been postponed due to fears over the Coronavirus.

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April’s Fed Cup Finals and play-offs have been postponed due to current health concerns associated with the coronavirus. 

 

Today’s announcement comes hours after the Hungarian government announced a ban on any indoor events which has more than 1000 people in it.

The Fed Cup finals were due to take place between the 14th and 19th of April in Budapest but the increasing amount of cases around the world and 13 in Hungary left the ITF with no choice.

In addition, April’s play-offs have also been postponed and will be moved to a later date, with the ITF finding away to solve the problem around eligibility for the summer’s Olympic games.

Speaking on the announcement, ITF President David Haggerty expressed his disappointment but insisted health is more important, “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators,” Haggerty said.

“This decision has not been made lightly; the threat posed by the COVID-19 is a serious one and calls for us to act responsibly as a federation and as human beings. This situation goes beyond sport.

“New dates for the Finals and for the Play-offs will be announced in due course and will primarily be guided by the length of time that tennis as a whole is affected by COVID-19. We will continue to collaborate with our colleagues across the sport to ensure that the impact on players, tournaments, rights holders and fans is as minimal as possible.”

The Fed Cup Finals and play-offs are the second tennis event to be postponed because of the coronavirus after the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was cancelled a couple of days ago.

Currently the Miami Open is set to go ahead although there is a big chance that this tournament could also be cancelled.

The ATP and WTA tournament at the Hard Rock Stadium is set to start on Monday the 25th of March.

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Fed Cup

Fed Cup Finals Draw: Australia And Czech Republic Given Tricky Tests In Budapest

Australia and Czech Republic have been handed difficult draws for the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.

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Australia and Czech Republic have been given tricky draws ahead of the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest. 

 

The event in Hungary takes place on the 14th-19th of April on clay to prepare players for the clay-court season that will approach.

In the inaugural event there are 12 nations competing for the Fed Cup title with the four group winners advancing to the semi-finals.

Ahead of April’s Fed Cup finale, the draw was announced today which has seen some mouth-watering matches set to take place.

Last year’s finalist’s Australia are in Group B and they have been given tricky tests against a strong Belarus team and Belgium.

Belarus have Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Victoria Azarenka at their disposal while Belgium will be lead by Elise Mertens.

Meanwhile the other group in their half of the draw will see Czech Republic will face tough tests against Germany and a Switzerland team lead by Belinda Bencic.

On the other side of the draw, defending champions France will look to successfully defend their title when they face Russia and hosts Hungary.

Given the scenarios, this is a fairly good draw for France who would regard clay as their strongest surface and are favourites to make the last four.

In the last four, France could play USA who have been drawn with Spain and Slovakia who beat Great Britain in last weekend’s qualifiers.

Here is the full draw with the full round-robin schedule for April’s finals set to be released on Monday:

Group A

France

Russia

Hungary

Group B

Australia

Belarus

Belgium

Group C

USA

Spain

Slovakia

Group D

Czech Republic

Germany

Switzerland

Semi-Finals

Winner of Group A v Winner of Group C

Winner of Group B v Winner of Group D

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Fed Cup

Great Britain Handed Mexican Away Trip In Fed Cup Play-Off Draw

Great Britain face another away tie as they travel to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Offs.

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Harriet Dart and Anne Keothavong (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Great Britain have been handed an away trip to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Off draw as they look to compete in next year’s qualifiers. 

 

The Brits, who were without Johanna Konta in their 3-1 defeat away to Slovakia, will now head to Mexico in April looking to avoid being relegated to Zone Group I.

Just like their tie in Bratislava, they are likely to be without Johanna Konta who has one eye on the Olympic Games and also like their tie this past weekend the tie will probably be on clay.

However this time the British team will be favourites to make next year’s Fed Cup qualifiers as the Mexican don’t have a single Women’s singles player in the top 200.

There will be eight Fed Cup play-offs which will be played on the 17th and 18th of April, with the eight winners joining eight teams from the Fed Cup finals.

14 of the 16 teams are confirmed with the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I still needed to be played in early March in Dubai after the Coronavirus epidemic meant that China couldn’t host the event in February.

Here is the full Fed Cup play-off draw:

(C) = Choice of Ground 

Brazil v Poland (C)

Great Britain v Mexico (C)

Canada v Serbia (C)

Latvia (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC

Japan (C) v Ukraine

Romania (C) v Italy

Kazakhstan v Argentina (C)

Netherlands (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC

 

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