YVERDON-LES-BAINS, SWITZERLAND: The Swiss team have maintained their spot in World Group II thanks to two wins in Sunday's remaining singles from Stefanie Voegele and Timea Bacsinszky, giving the hosts an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Bacsinszky sealed the Swiss win after overcoming fierce resistence from Aliaksandra Sasnovich. After 1 hour 46 minutes, a forehand from the courageous 18-year-old finished long and launched the on-court festivities from the winning team.
For Bacsinszky it was definitely different from any normal win, as exactly one year earlier, on 22 April 2011, she had suffered a career threatening foot injury.
"To be here, on this day and to contribute a decisive point for my country means a lot to me." And rather emotionally, she added: "I want to thoroughly thank all those who have contributed to this and made my return on the highest level possible."
After winning her 15th match in 29 Fed Cup outings,she remained modest: "I might have won the last point but one mainly has to praise Stefi for her performances."
In fact, "Stefi" or Stefanie Voegele was the real Swiss hero of the tie. After denying Sasnovich a strong comeback on Saturday, she made extremely short work of Olga Govortsova in the clash of the number ones. A 61 61 victory in 56 minutes and only seven points lost on serve are the figures that underline Voegele's high-standard performance, which she maintained throughout the match.
It wasn't Voegele's fault that Govortsova, who had battled sickness in the days previous to the tie, was far from her best and seemed lacklustre at stages. The Swiss didn't allow her opponent to gain confidence as she had in the match against Bacsinszky and continued towards a one-sided match.
"I am very glad about my performance," the always modest Voegele admitted, "it was definitely one of my best matches this year. I have definitely realised that she dropped her level in the second set but I have tried to continue to focus on every single point and I think, I managed this very well." Seven aces, 30 overall winners and very few mistakes laid the basis to her clearest win in the competition yet.
For the first time in her career, she has given her country two points in a tie, completely fulfilling the expectations of a number one player of a country. The 22-year-old has confirmed her good state of shape and has improved her Fed Cup record to 5-7.
This year, she has been very successful by winning three of four singles and her only loss coming in Fribourg to reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur. Voegele is optimistic that the good results in the past days will give her an additional boost in her quest to regain Top 100 status.
"Fed Cup is something special and that I was able to contribute two points will give me quite some self confidence for the next weeks."
The final dead rubber also went to way of the hosts as Belinda Bencic and Amra Sadikovic came from a set behind against Darya Lebesheva and Aliaksandra Sasnovich to win 67(5) 76(7) 75 to complete a 4-1 victory.
Captain Heinz Gundthardt (SUI) - 22/04/2012
Captain Alexander Skrypko (BLR) - 22/04/2012
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) - 22/04/2012
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) - 22/04/2012