BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: Germany has taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the semifinals of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas against Australia.
The tie, being played at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, saw Germany sweep all the sets that were played.
Andrea Petkovic got the visitors off to a flying start when she defeated Sam Stosur 61 76(7) and then world No. 7 Angelique Kerber overwhelmed Casey Dellacqua 61 60 in 51 minutes.
“I saw two great matches and I was very proud of the performance of my two girls,” said German captain Barbara Rittner. “There are still three points to go and tomorrow is a new day. I think the matches were closer than they look.
“It was one of those days when Angie played a perfect match but if she took a bit off, Casey would be right there; Casey is very consistent and tricky, she plays so well at home so you have to put pressure on her all the time.”
In the opening rubber, Stosur started with an ace but soon after lost her serve when Petkovic cracked a forehand cross court winner. A game later and the early advantage had been handed right back; however the German was looking a touch stronger as she pressured Stosur into dropping serve once more.
Petkovic went on a roll and when Stosur failed to hold serve in the fifth game, which was the longest game of the match at close to eleven minutes, there was a sense that this was trouble for the Australian.
Petkovic claimed the first set when Stosur dropped serve again by sending a forehand long, but Stosur was still trying hard to make inroads with the German’s game. In the third game of the second set Stosur got aggressive and broke with a glorious forehand winner down the line.
“My energy level dropped a little, I don’t know why and Sam started serving better; heavier and deeper and she pushed me back,” said Petkovic. “I think in the end I was a little lucky and glad I got through in two sets.
“I didn’t think Sam was nervous in the match. I just played aggressive in the beginning and she wasn’t in the match but then she was playing well.”
It was in the seventh game of the second set when Petkovic was serving that she cracked her left shin with her racquet during the service motion. It resulted in a sizable lump and a slight cut. She joked later: “It is hurting lots. I think I like broke my leg, but what can you do, it’s Easter and this is my Easter Egg!”
Stosur had a 5-3 lead and served for the set at 5-4 but Petkovic broke in the tenth game. In the tiebreak the German jumped to a quick start but she needed five match points before giving her nation the first point of the weekend.
“I had put myself in a good position in the second set so it was disappointing to lose it,” said Stosur. “She was able to get a good strike on the ball. The court is quick and she was striking the ball well. I wasn’t overly nervous but she came out pretty clean and I should have been able to do that the way my opponent did.”
Kerber was truly awesome as her left-handed game overwhelmed Dellacqua. The Australian was not being given any opportunities and it was really only in the final game of the match that she was able to trouble the German and unfortunately for the local fans, it was short lived.
“I played very good,” said Kerber. “Of course it is easier to go on the court when your country is leading 1-0 but I knew I had to play very good because Casey is playing very good at home … but it is a very good feeling to be up 2-0.”
Dellacqua, as expected, was very dejected with the lack of opportunities.
“I hoped to put in a better performance, I can’t deny that,” she said. “I wanted to go out and do what I do well; Kerber did that and my game was not good enough today. Tomorrow will be a better match-up for me than today when I play Petkovic.”
Certainly the task is ahead for the Australian captain Alicia Molik but she remains optimistic that her team can turn things around.
“I was quietly confident that our worst result would be 1-1 (on the first day),” said Molik. "We had a great week of practice but it didn’t go that way (on the court).
“I think Sam and Casey will be better tomorrow; we don’t have anything to lose. Sam has a great track record against Kerber and if it goes to a fourth singles, Casey has had a good run this year. We’ll have a rest and re-group and give it all. I don’t see why we can’t claw back from this.”
Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) - 19/04/2014
Captain Alicia Molik (AUS) - 19/04/2014
Captain Barbara Rittner (GER) - 19/04/2014
Angelique Kerber (GER) - 19/04/2014
Sam Stosur (AUS) - 19/04/2014
Andrea Petkovic (GER) - 19/04/2014