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20 April 2014

Germany through to first Fed Cup Final in 22 years


MATCH REPORT

By Craig Gabriel

Photo: SMP ImagesThe German team celebrates

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: It has been a long time coming but the drought has been broken for Germany. An ace on match point from Angelique Kerber in the first reverse singles gave Germany an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Australia and after 22 years they are in the final of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

Coming into the match Kerber had never beaten Stosur in two previous encounters and it looked as though the Australian No. 1 was going to keep Aussie hopes alive after winning the first set.

However, on returning from a bathroom break at the end of the first set, Kerber turned the match around and won seven games in a row and eventually closed out the match 46 60 64.

She could not have ended the match in a sweeter manner… it was an ace.

“It’s a very special moment for me and the whole team,” said Kerber. “It feels very great. I played a good match but it was a tough one because Sam was playing also very tough and I have never beaten her before. It just means a lot; it’s a special moment for all of us.

Stosur’s performance was in total contrast to how she played the day before. She got off to a solid start by breaking serve in the second game and then went up 3-0 and 4-1, but Stosur gave the break back in the seventh game only to break the German once more a game later.

It was like a rollercoaster because then Kerber struck once more in a game that last about ten minutes – on her seventh break point she got the better of Stosur.

The Australian was not giving in and a game later she got the better of Kerber’s serve once again, striking a beautiful hooked forehand passing shot down the line.

The crowd went wild and the Aussie bench was on their feet.

Unfortunately the euphoria did not last long. After returning from a bathroom break, Kerber went on a roll. There was nothing Stosur could do.

“After the first set I was just thinking, just play every single point for your team, you’re playing for Germany, your country, and keep fighting and keep fighting till the last point. I really tried that and I’m just so happy,” said Kerber.

The German reeled off seven consecutive games to lead 1-0 in the third when Stosur double faulted on break point. The next two games were also breaks but it was the third game, which lasted an incredible 15 minutes when Stosur was broken, that made an impact.

Kerber opened a 5-2 lead and served for the match but Stosur managed to keep things alive for another two games. Serving for the tie for the second time Kerber made no mistake, cracking that ace on match point.

“It was overall reasonably disappointing, especially when you don’t get through,” said Stosur. “I don’t know if I can fight any harder than I did in that match.

“In the second set I have to say I lost my way and that didn’t help. I knew I had to regroup and start again. I had chances today to win in but that’s what it comes down to playing a top player.”

“It’s not a lost opportunity, the only opportunity lost was not making the final and that was always going to be tough. We came up short but we tried everything. 3-0 doesn’t sound great but that’s the way it is sometimes. Last time we beat them 3-0 in Germany, they turned it and did it to us this time.”

 

Sam Stosur (AUS) - 20/04/2014

Angelique Kerber (GER) - 20/04/2014

Captain Barbara Rittner (GER) - 20/04/2014

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