Reigning Fed Cup Champions Belarus Tamed By Germany - UBITENNIS
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Reigning Fed Cup Champions Belarus Tamed By Germany

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Aryna Sabalenka (zimbio.com)

Defending champions Belarus have endured a mixed opening day of their Fed Cup world group tie.

 

Taking on Germany in Minsk, Aryna Sabalenka got her country off to a strong start. The world No.63 recovered from a set down to defeat Tatjana Maria 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. A player participating in her first Fed Cup tie since 2011.

“That was such a tough match, she made me play really well,” Sabalenka told FedCup.com. “I didn’t expect her to come to the net most points, so I’m happy I managed to adapt and win the second and third sets. I’m confident and I enjoyed playing a match like that.”

Maria, who is yet to win a main draw match on the WTA Tour this season, drew positives from her defeat.

“Sabalenka is an extremely aggressive player. She also played a very good match and at the end she was just that little bit better,” an upbeat Maria concluded after her loss.
“I was a little bit unlucky to lose my serve at the start of the second set and then she started to gain confidence. It was very tight, I didn’t feel like it was a 62 third set.”

The German team battled back to draw level with the help of Antonia Lottner, who is making her competition debut at the age of 21. Lottner, who hasn’t won a tour title for almost 18 months, stunned world No.46 Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-5, 6-4.

“I feel amazing,” she said after the win. “It’s my first Fed Cup match and I got the win for my team today. I’m super happy, so proud.”

All to play for in France

At the Le Vendéspace France are level-pegging with Belgium. Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens continues her strong start to the year with a clinical 6-2, 6-1, win over Pauline Parmentier. The world No.20 dropped her serve only once as she fired 22 winners past her opponent to score a point for Belgium. France was able to respond with the help of Kristina Mladenovic, who dismissed Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-4, in the second match.

“This is my environment,” Mladenovic told FedCup.com afterwards. “Pressure is an obstacle that I don’t fear at all.”

The second day of Fed Cup competition will feature back-to-back singles matches followed by the doubles.

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.

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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Fed Cup

Impressive Barty Puts Australia Back On Track In Brisbane Against Belarus

Ashleigh Barty produced some high-quality tennis to level the tie for Australia against Belarus in their semi-final.

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Ashleigh Barty (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

Ashleigh Barty once again produced an impressive performance as she defeated Victoria Azarenka 7-6(2) 6-3 to level the tie for Australia. 

 

The Miami Open champion was impressive in the big moments as she levelled the tie for Australia against Belarus in their World Group semi-final.

Despite Azarenka’s resilience and great returning, the 21 year-old from Brisbane held on to seal the victory in front of her home fans.

Earlier in the day Aryna Sabalenka battled past Sam Stosur 7-5 5-7 6-3 in 2 hours and 51 minutes to give Belarus an early lead.

It was a pressure situation for Barty in heavy conditions as she looked to keep Australia’s hopes of reaching a first Fed Cup final since 1993 alive.

Keeping the unforced errors down and powerful returns was the key for the Belarusian to stay competitive in this contest.

However Azarenka’s serve let her down on occasions which allowed Barty to get back into the match in very heavy conditions in Brisbane.

After two breaks of serve each it was the Australian who played a flawless tiebreak to seal the first set and the home favourite only went from strength to strength.

Another three breaks of serve in the second set sealed the victory and set up a fantastic second day of action in this semi-final.

After the match Australian captain Alicia Molik couldn’t have been any prouder of her team’s efforts, “She backs herself in the big moments,” Molik explained to fedcup.com.

“When the occasion is there she’s prepared to play big…. She shone through at the right moments. I’m happy with where we’re sitting in terms of one win all. I thought Sam was brilliant today. That’s all I could have asked from her, I think she put out a great display.”

The earlier match saw Aryna Sabalenka battle past a gritty Sam Stosur in nearly three hours as she gave the Belarusians the early lead.

This means that day two is set up perfectly as world number nine Ashleigh Barty will face world number ten Aryna Sabalenka in the first match tomorrow.

Daria Gavrilova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich may be brought into the fourth rubber before a doubles rubber will decide who reaches the Fed Cup Final.

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