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

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

Injury Heartbreak Motivates Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Tie With Mexico

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SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Storm Hunter of Team Australia reacts during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals group stage match between Australia and Kazakhstan at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

The captain of the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team says they are supporting one of their top players after she suffered a serious injury on the eve of their latest tie. 

Storm Hunter, who is currently ranked No.3 in the world for doubles, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon whilst training at a practice session on Thursday with her teammates. The severity of the injury means she will almost certainly be forced to pull out of this summer’s Olympic Games where she would have been a medal contender, as well as both the French Open and Wimbledon. Hunter has already won a WTA 1000 title this season in Dubai and was also runner-up in Indian Wells. In both of those tournaments, she was partnering Kateřina Siniaková. 

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” said Hunter.
“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

According to the Australian press, team captain Sam Stosur said Hunter’s teammates are ‘rallying behind‘ her and “wishing her the very, very best and the quickest recovery possible.”

As a result of the injury, Daria Saville was brought in to play in her country’s singles match on the opening day of their tie against Mexico on Friday. The world No.94 was in top form as she charged to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-0, win over Marcela Zacarias in less than an hour. 

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for all of us, pretty emotional,” said Saville who has undergone surgery on her Achilles in the past. 
“It’s so nice to have Stormy here supporting us. Not long ago that kind of happened to me … so we’re giving Stormy a lot of love. 
“I felt like I was pretty determined and clearly that showed.”

Despite the blow, Australia is on the verge of beating Mexico. In the other singles match on the opening day, Arina Rodionova came back from a set down to beat Giuliana Olmos 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With a 2-0 lead, they only need one more win to clinch the tie. 

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Fed Cup

Italian Captain Tathiana Garbin Reveals Rare Tumor Diagnoses After Team’s Loss At BJK Finals

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Former top 30 player and captain of the Italian Billie Jean King Cup team Tathiana Garbin has publically announced that she is battling a serious health issue. 

Just hours after her team lost to Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup final in Seville on Sunday, the 46-year-old issued a statement confirming that she is undergoing treatment for a rare tumor that has been found in her stomach. Garbin had her first surgery in October but will have to undergo further procedures in the coming weeks. 

“I really wish to thank my Federation, which has constantly supported me with extraordinary solidarity and sensitivity,” Gabin said in a statement sent to the news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA). 
“Seville was a very important event for me, and I absolutely didn’t want to miss it despite being very close to my operation: the Federation has shown they placed full trust in me. There is nothing that makes me prouder than representing the colors of Italy. “

Gabin says she hopes to raise awareness of medical research and prevention by going public about her condition, as well as hoping to inspire others with her story. She is being treated by Professor Di Candio and Professor Morelli at the Cisanello Hospital in Pisa. 

“I thank my BJ King Cup girls, who have shown me incredible love and support. Their presence and support have been a beacon of positivity in these difficult days,” she said in tribute to her team.
“However, I would like to inform you that I will have to undergo a second surgery, required by the treatment planned by the doctors. Thanks to the rapid recovery I have experienced, I am optimistic about being back on court.”

As a player, Garbin peaked at a ranking high of No.22 in singles and No.25 in doubles. Her sole singles title on the WTA Tour occurred in 2000 when she won the Budapest Open in Hungary. Seven years after that, she reached the fourth round of the French Open in what was her best-ever run at a major event. 

Garbin has served as Italy’s Billie Jean King Cup captain since 2016. 

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Fed Cup

Doubles Delight: Great Britain Ousts France 2-1 In Davis Cup Classic

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Image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA/

Great Britain has won the last spot in the Davis Cup finals by prevailing in a highly dramatic clash against France in front of a record crowd in Manchester.

With the must-win showdown level at 1-1, the tie was decided by a rollercoaster doubles match with Dan Evans and Neil Skupski battling their way past Nicolas Mahut and Édouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(6). In what was one of the most tense matches ever involving the British team, four match points were saved by the hosts. Evans fended off three whilst serving 4-5 down in the decider before Skupski saved one when he was serving two games later. To add to the drama, in the decisive tiebreaker Britain lost a mini-break advantage twice before prevailing on their second match point. 

“I don’t know how we’ve won that fight, sheer fight. Incredible effort from Dan to come out and win this match with me,” said Skupski.
“The first set wasn’t too good. We regrouped, took a toilet [break] and fought as hard as we could. Dan saving three points in the third set. The rest is history and we’re off to Malaga.” 

The triumph caps off what has been a marathon day at The AO Arena with all three matches going the full distance. A total of more than 13,000 seats was sold for the tie which is a record for a single day of Davis Cup action in the UK. 

Earlier in the day, Evans got Britain off to a perfect start by fighting back from a set and a break down to beat Arthur Fils 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in what was a close fight. At the end of the encounter, there was a tense exchange between the two which continued during the doubles match with Evans seen making gestures towards the Frenchman who was watching from the stands. 

France’s sole victor was Ugo Humbert who beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie 7-6(5),3-6, 7-5. A new confidence blow to the British No.1 who has only won back-to-back matches in one out of his past five tournaments. 

“The team is amazing. We get on very well. Everyone’s played a part. It’s all those guys and girls standing there (in the stands) who are amazing.” Captain Leon Smith commented. 

Britain joins Australia in qualifying from Group B to November’s finals which will be held in Malaga. The team has won all three of their ties played in Manchester with their previous wins being over Australia and Switzerland earlier in the week. 

In total, eight teams have secured their place in the finals. Group stages have also been held in Spain, Croatia and Italy with the top two nations from each of those events progressing. 

Britain is seeking to win the Davis Cup title for only the second time in the Open Era after 2015. 

List of teams through to the knockout stages in Malaga

  • Great Britain
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands

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