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

After 26 Years Of Heartbreak, Great Britain Finally Secures Fed Cup Promotion

After losing four play-off ties since 2011, the British team have finally scored the breakthrough they desired.

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Johanna Konta (image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA)

A duo of hard fought singles victories in London has made history for British Tennis after the Fed Cup team defeated Kazakhstan to reach the World Group stage for the first time since 1993.

 

Tied at 1-1 after the first day, Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter prevailed in both of their matches to hand Great Britain an overall 3-1 win over their opponents. The proceedings were opened up on Sunday by former top 10 player Konta. Taking on Yania Putintseva, Konta battled to an epic 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. After dropping the opening set, she was then forced to recover from a 1-4 deficit in the decider to score the crucial victory. Putintseva, who was struggling physically during the match, is only the fourth top 50 player Konta has defeated so far in 2019.

“As a young girl, as an athlete wanting to make it to the top of my sport… you can only dream of this stuff.” She said during an interview with BT Sport. “Gosh that was one hell of a match wasn’t it?”

Following on from Konta’s heroics, it was Boulter’s chance to seal an unassailable lead for her country in the tie. Boulter wasn’t born until three years after her country was last in the World Group of the Fed Cup. The 22-year-old was out to seek redemption after squandering three match points on Saturday during her loss to Putintseva.

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This time round Boulter didn’t crumble when under pressure. Like teammate Konta, she roared back from a set down to defeat Zarina Diyas 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-1. Winning 67% of her first service points and breaking her opponent’s serve six times throughout the match.

“I was trying to get one win for the team, Johanna did a great job, I was just trying to make them proud today,” she told BT Sport.
“I showed yesterday how much it meant, I was so close but today I bounced back and got the win.
“We go again!!”

The triumph comes after what has been years of heartbreak for the British camp. Prior to 2019, they have been on the verge of reaching World Group II of the Fed Cup four times in seven years. Only to lose all of their play-off ties. Making their victory over Kazakhstan even more sweeter.

“Amazing. Just a heroic effort from the players this week, some fantastic tennis.” Team captain Anne Keothavong commented.
“Everyone here has been part of our journey and this has been an unforgettable weekend.
“Jo’s effort. coming back from behind, to Katie today. I think they have inspired a lot of people.”

Besides their new status, the contingent of player’s are hoping that their performances will help inspire the next generation. At present, there are five British players in the top 200 on the WTA Tour. Three of which are under the age of 22 (Boulter, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan).

“I hope that we have inspired a lot of kids here (in London) today to play tennis or do whatever they want to do.” Said team member Heather Watson.

It remains to be seen what is next for the Brits with the possibility of the Fed Cup changing its format. From next year there is a chance that the world group could be turned into a 12-team format. If this happened, Britain is likely to make that group thanks to their latest win.

https://twitter.com/the_LTA/status/1120012995508285440

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Fed Cup

Australia Down Belarus In Thriller To End 26-Year Wait For Fed Cup Final

It is joy for the Aussies and heartbreak for Belarus in Brisbane.

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The Australian Fed Cup team (photo via https://twitter.com/FedCup)

The Australian duo of Ashleigh Barty and Sam Stosur has guided their country into the final of the Fed Cup for the first time since 1993 after a dramatic final day of their clash with Belarus.

 

Australia, who last won the team competition back in 1974, was pushed to their limits at the Pat Rafter Arena with the final match of the tie deciding their fate. After day one, they were held at 1-1 by Belarus. A team compromising of two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka and world No.10 Aryna Sabalenka.

Barty gave the home favourites an initial 2-1 advantage after she disposed of Sabalenka 6-2, 6-2. A player who she lost to twice during the second half of the 2018 season. However, Azarenka revived Belarus’ chances immediately with an emphatic 6-1, 6-1, win over tour veteran Stosur. Making it her first victory in the competition since 2016.

With all to play for, it was the doubles match that separated the two. During a roller coaster encounter, Barty and Stosur prevailed 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, over their rivals. Breaking twice in the decider on route to securing the overall 3-2 victory.

“It’s just super-exciting now to be in the Fed Cup final,” Stosur told fedcup.com afterwards. “All the girls, we work so hard throughout the year, and we really stick together as a team, Fed Cup weeks or not Fed Cup weeks. We’ve always got each others back, so to be in the Fed Cup final not I think a great reward for both of us, and we’re going to give it our best shot here in November.”

Team captain Alicia Molik has hailed the performance of her team. This year was the first time Australia has contested a semi-final of the competition since 2014. The country ranks third on the all-time list for more trophies won, but have failed to gain success in recent decades.

“It was just an incredible weekend,” Australian captain Molik reflected.
“We hadn’t exactly planned for it to come to the doubles, yet we were prepared. We got to that position, and I was really pleased today with both the outputs of Ash – it was phenomenal tennis out there – and Sam gave it her best.
“You can just see the joy in our faces too – winning that doubles rubber, what it means. We’re now in the final. I’m just so proud.”

In November’s final Australia will play either France or Romania.

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Fed Cup

Yulia Putintseva Saves Three Match Points To Keep Kazakhstan Alive Against Great Britain

Yulia Putintseva once again brought the drama as she saved Kazakhstan from being 2-0 down against Great Britain.

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Yulia Putintseva (@bbctennis - Twitter)

Yulia Putintseva saved three match points to defeat Katie Boulter 3-6 6-2 7-6(6) and level the tie for Kazakhstan against Great Britain.

 

In a match where there were injuries, passion and lots of drama, Putintseva saved three match points to level the tie for Kazakhstan.

Despite having a 4-0 lead in the deciding set, Boulter couldn’t close out the match as Great Britain are pegged back heading into the second day.

Earlier in the day Johanna Konta edged out Zarina Diyas 4-6 6-3 6-2 to give the hosts the lead in their World Group II Play-Off tie.

It was a good start from the Brit as she timed the ball to perfection as the Kazakh had no answers in the opening set. Two breaks at the end of the set sealed a positive start for Boulter, who was feeding off the crowd’s enthusiasm.

However the second set was a very different story as the Brit struggled with a knee injury as Putintseva took a more aggressive approach to proceedings.

Three games in a row against a cautious Boulter saw the world number 38 force a deciding set, which was sealed by an ace.

The final set saw Boulter time the ball exceptionally well again and overpower forehands with some aggressive forehands.

A 4-0 lead seemingly saw the Brit cruising but back came the controversial Kazakh as she managed to rescue one of the breaks of serve.

In nervy circumstances the world number 86 couldn’t hold her nerve when serving for the match at 5-3 as Putintseva pushed to force a final set tiebreak.

After one match point disappearing in the eleventh game, Boulter remained aggressive to create two more chances to seal the match.

But never count out Putintseva and four points in a row thanks to some gutsy play saw the Kazakh take the match in over two and a half hours as Britain sense an opportunity missed.

https://twitter.com/FedCup/status/1119668714784346112

It is a gutting loss for Britain, who should have a commanding 2-0 lead but instead have been pegged back at 1-1. The match is level after Johanna Konta edged out Zarina Diyas in the first rubber.

After controversy with the Kazakh’s fans trombone and trumpets, the Brit kept her cool to seal a crucial rubber for the hosts.

Tomorrow Johanna Konta will face Yulia Putintseva, with Katie Boulter, if 100%, playing Zarina Diyas. If the singles are once again split, then a deciding doubles rubber will decide the outcome of the tie.

Great Britain are looking to enter the top two tiers of Women’s Tennis for the first time in 28 years.

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