Fed Cup: CoCo Vandeweghe replaces Keys and completes Australia's disposal by the USA who are back in World Group - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Fed Cup

Fed Cup: CoCo Vandeweghe replaces Keys and completes Australia’s disposal by the USA who are back in World Group

Published

on

After losing badly the first set Vandeweghe adjusts to Stosur’s serve and increases her serve’s effectiveness to take rubber and tie

 

 

FED CUP, World Group, play-off
Australia – USA 0-4 (From Brisbane Robbie Cappuccio)

CoCo Vandeweghe: solid as a rock

CoCo Vandeweghe: solid as a rock

After a disappointing Saturday, Australia was trailing two-love and had to show their best to try to level the tie to take it to the decider doubles. “It’s about regrouping and I think believing and trusting ourselves tomorrow” . These were the words by Alicia Molik at the after-match (pardon, rubber) press conference yesterday. For about one hour and a bit trust grew today, to then collapse under Vandeweghe’s strokes. It ended with Stosur in tears and USA back to the World Group.

The fourth singles was not played. In the doubles, Gavrilova/Rodionova lost to Vandeweghe/Mattek-Sands 1-6 4-6 to complete the Aussie debacle.

USA deserved the victory showing more determination, more aggressiveness and more resilience bouncing back twice from one set down. Keys played impressively well (watch out for the upcoming clay season), both McHale and Vandeweghe started slow but regrouped and did not miss a chance when it came up. Gavrilova was possibly a bit too nervous but was clearly out-powered by Keys whilst Stosur started both rubbers perfectly to then melting along the way in the tropical Brisbane heat.

CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Sam Stosur (AUS) 2-6 7-5 6-4
Another beautiful tropical day in Brisbane and the Pat Rafter Arena is crowded and loud. Aussies love tennis and love supporting their team and showing their colours. It’s such a pleasure to see 70 years old ladies all dressed up in green and gold (including wigs) and so competent in the nuances of this beautiful game.

Aussie fans are always colourful, regardless of their age

Aussie fans are always colourful, regardless of their age

The first rubber of the day starts with a surprise, as Coco Vandeweghe takes the court replacing Madison Keys (who is wearing sunglasses instead of the team’s uniform). Stosur starts so determined you would not believed 24 hours earlier she had badly choked. When the rally is longer than 4 shots Vandeweghe is winning it, but Stosur is serving (78% first serve at 170 km/h) and returning so well that seldom a rally is that long. Vandeweghe seems incapable of opposing and the Australian flies up 3-0, then 5-2 and set point: same situation as yesterday. This time she gets it taking advantage of the American sending Stosur’s return a couple of meter long: 6-2 Australia in less than half an hour.
Everybody is expecting Sam’s dip in focus, and guess what? She faces 3 consecutive break points in the first game, but today it’s a different Stosur who is able to regroup and hold serve. Even though Stosur keeps serving well (75% first serve) Vandeweghe has finally adjusted to her serve and returns very effectively. Her serve also grows (4 aces and 78% points won on first serve) with a sliced serve to the forehand and flat to the backhand of Stosur, and the match becomes tight. Let’s face it, it’s not a great match, but the tension keeps the spectators glued to their seats, exploding in chants to support the Australian. “I want to thank the Aussie crowd for cheering against me so hard it was really something special” says a cheeky Coco in the after match interview. At 5-5, yesterday’s Stosur reappears on the court: she makes and then breaks the game, with a double fault, a couple of great winners to lead 40-30 and then unforced errors to lose serve. Vandeweghe thanks for the gift and with a couple of aces takes the set 7-5.

Stosur is now suffering against the American and loses serve straight away and Vanderweghe consolidates. “I was in control in the first but losing set 2 was huge. A match like that can come down to a couple of points” says the Australian at the press conference. Even if the Aussie keeps to love her next three service games, the momentum is on the American side and Vanderweghe even ventures in a serve and volley, with forehand half volley brushing the net and dropping in Stosur serve box. Without much excitement the match goes to 5-4 with Vandeweghe serving for the rubber and the tie. The game is dramatic with the chair umpire Carlos Ramos correcting a double fault (no hawk eye on clay and by the way it was out) and giving Vanderweghe the possibility of replay point. Then on 30 all the American double faults (a total of 6 for her today) rising Australian hopes. Stosur faces the opportunity by sending long an overhead from the service line. She has a second chance this time frustrated by Vanderweghe’s forhand winner (18 winners today for her, 12 for Stusur). A cross court backhand then forces Stosur to the error giving USA the match point and tie point: Vandeweghe’s serve stops on Stosur’s racquet and USA is back to the World Group, leaving the crowd extremely disappointed and Stosur in tears. “It’s disappointing and frustrating but it’s better to go down in a tight one. It does not make it any easier right now, but on the whole I was playing a good tennis” she says at the press conference.

Fed Cup

Australia Ousts Great Britain In Thriller To Reach BJK Cup Final

The host nation narrowly missed out on a place in the final but they have plenty of positives to motivate them for the future.

Published

on

The British Billie Jean King Cup team (image via LTA Twitter)

Australia has denied Great Britain an opportunity to play in their first team final since 1981 after prevailing 2-1 in an epic tussle at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow. 

 

The gripping tie was level at 1-1 after each team won one of the singles matches, paving the way for a winner-takes-all doubles encounter. The British team featured Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls who were both making their debut in the competition this week. Their opponents were former Grand Slam winner Sam Stosur and world No.10 doubles player Storm Sanders.

Despite the gap in experience between the two pairings, there was almost nothing to distinguish between the two throughout the majority of their encounter which lasted more than two hours. Nevertheless, the Australian duo held their nerve to seal a 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 10-6, victory to send them into the final. 

“That was amazing. it could have gone either way and credit to the GB girls they played really well. They will be here again for sure.” Sanders said during her on-court interview. 

It is only the second time in the past 30 years that Australia has progressed to the final after 2019. Before playing Great Britain, they also defeated Belgium and Slovakia in the group stages. 

“A real credit to the four players out on court that was pretty inspirational, so I hope it inspires a lot more of you out there to play doubles. It was really such a high level you couldn’t pick it in the end.” Australian captain Alicia Molik commented on the doubles match. 

Earlier in the day, Australia got off to the perfect start with Sanders edging her way past Heather Watson 6-4, 7-6(3). However, the host nation battled back with an impressive performance from Harriet Dart who defeated Ajla Tomljanović 7-6(3), 6-2. A player who has reached the quarter-finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open this year. 

“The Billie Jean King Cup just brings the best out of me. I love playing in front of a home crowd, and I feel like I have really been feeding off my teammates and everyone here. It just makes me really want to do really well.” Said Dart. 

The performances from the underdogs provide Britain with plenty of hope for the future. The nation lost in qualifying earlier this year but managed to enter the finals via wildcard due to the competition being held in their country. 

“I’m just gutted for everyone right now but also I think we have to try and keep things in perspective,” British captain Keothavong told reporters. 
“What a fantastic week it has been for the team. I don’t know how many people gave us much of a chance really to even come through the group stages.’
“It really is a fantastic achievement to reach the semifinals but we felt we could have gone further. That’s why it hurts so much.
“It’s going to hurt the players for a while but they’ll (the team) get over it. They can still hold their heads high because they have shown what they are capable of under a huge amount of pressure to deliver, and in the end, it came down to a few points.”

Australia will next play either Switzerland or the Czech Republic in the final. They are seeking to win the trophy for the first time since 1974.

Continue Reading

Fed Cup

Great Britain Looking To Overcome ‘Experienced’ Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Semis

Great Britain will play their first Billie Jean King Cup semi-final for 40 years when they play Australia on Saturday.

Published

on

(@the_LTA - Twitter)

Great Britain plays their first Billie Jean King Cup semi-final for 40 years when they face Australia in the last four in Glasgow on Saturday.

 

It was a heroic effort from Great Britain on Thursday as they battled past Spain to reach the last four at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Having lost to Kazakhstan 2-1 in their opening match, they knew they had to beat Spain 3-0 to qualify for the semi-finals.

But step up Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and the doubles team of Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett, as they pulled off a massive upset to seal a place in the semi-finals.

Speaking after the win against Spain, Great Britain’s captain Anne Keothavong praised the doubles pairing of Barnett and Nicholls, “It’s down to their doubles win on Tuesday night (in a 2-1 loss to Kazakhstan) that kept us in this competition,” Keothavong was quoted by tennis365 as saying.

“I think if you watch that match, it’s hard not to feel the joy and the camaraderie between the players. It really truly was infectious.

“I think also Liv and Liss bring something different to the team which we haven’t had before. It’s not just the fact that they specialise in doubles but they have had a life outside of tennis.”

Now Great Britain look to repeat the success of the 1981 side as they look to beat Australia and reach the final.

It will be no easy task though with an in-form Ajla Tomljanovic, Ellen Perez, Storm Sanders and Sam Stosur standing in their way.

Keothavong admitted it will be a tough match but also noted that momentum is on Great Britain’s side, “They are a tough team,” Britain’s captain admitted.

“They are a team with plenty of experience in this competition. But look, we have to believe, and we’re on a high at the moment.”

That semi-final is the first semi-final before reigning champions Switzerland face the Czech Republic at 16:00 GMT.

Continue Reading

Fed Cup

‘Sky’s The Limit’ – Great Britain Storm Into First Billie Jean King Cup Semis In Over 40 Years

The underdogs have exceeded expectations in front of their home fans in Glasgow.

Published

on

The British Billie Jean King Cup team (image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA)

British captain Anne Keothavong said it was ‘wonderful’ to watch her team pull off a sensational 3-0 win over Spain at the Billie Jean King Cup on Thursday. 

 

After suffering a loss to Kazakhstan earlier in the week, team GB entered their latest tie knowing they have to win all three of their matches without dropping a set if they want to progress to the semi-final stages. Despite having the odds against them, they managed to surge to victory. 

Heather Wason thrashed Nuria Perrizas 6-0, 6-2, who is ranked 50 places higher than her in the WTA standings. Then Harriet Dart stunned world No.13 Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-4, in just over 90 minutes. To put that victory into perspective, Dart has only beaten one top-10 player in her career, which was Daria Kasatkina at the US Open earlier this year. 

“I’m just so proud to represent my country, to be able to also perform on home soil in front of a home crowd. Doesn’t get more special than that,” Hart told reporters afterwards.
“My goal was to make it as tough as possible out there for her, and I felt like I executed my game plan really well. I knew that all the pressure was on them because on paper she’s meant to beat me easily.”

On the verge of booking a place in the semi-finals, the tie came down to the doubles match. Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls only found out they were playing in the competition for the first time in their careers last week. Despite their inexperience, the duo managed to pull off a shock 7-6(5), 6-2, win over Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova. 

“The sky’s the limit after what we have shown so far,” said Nicholls. “We were definitely underdogs in this group. No doubt about it.
“Both the singles girls, Harriet and Heather, getting unbelievable wins. We have shown what we can do on the doubles court at well. I don’t see there are any players or teams here that we shouldn’t walk onto court thinking we can’t beat. We will just keep going.”

The triumph makes it the first time Britain has reached the semi-finals since 1981 when the event was called the Federation Cup. Britain, who are currently ranked 17th in the team standings, only managed to qualify for the finals due to being the host nation. 

“It sure is (historic) – this is something really special,” said Keothavong.
“I’m just so proud of this team. Every single player on the team has done us proud, the team spirit has been high, and I just want to thank everyone who has come to support the British team here. It really makes the difference and we really appreciate the support.
“We want to put women’s sport and tennis on the map and the support you give us is helping us to create amazing memories.”

Britain will next take on Australia who coincidentally was the country they faced the last time they reached the semi-finals more than 40 years ago. Australia, which is headed by top-40 player Ajla Tomljanović,  has topped their group following a 3-0 win over Belgium and a 2-1 win over Slovakia. 

“We are not here to participate – we are here to try and win this event,” said team member Storm Saunders.
“Everyone on the team, it’s a priority for us to win. So, semi-finals is, yeah, a good step but we’re here for more.”

Britain is seeking to win the title for the first time in history and Australia is aiming to claim their first since 1974. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending