MARIBOR, SLOVENIA: An impressive display by both singles players allowed Germany to complete a speedy victory and avoid what would have been a difficult doubles decider against Slovenia on the second day of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II first round tie in Maribor.
German No. 1 Andrea Petkovic was in excellent form as she defeated Slovenia's top player Polona Hercog in straight sets, 61 62, in only 1 hour 18 minutes. Germany’s victory was sealed by Julia Goerges, who needed only two minutes more in overcoming Masa Zec-Peskiric.
Slovenia’s hopes were high after Hercog managed to level things in the second rubber on Saturday, but Australian Open quarterfinalist Petkovic hastily dampened the mood in the Lukna Arena by opening a 2-0 lead with a quick break of Hercog’s service.
Although Hercog regained the break to love in the next game – the only show of weakness by Petkovic all match – she then failed to convert a 40-0 lead in the fourth game, allowing the German to regain her momentum.
Hercog had almost no chance of finding her game after that, as the 23 year-old Petkovic piled on the pressure with her powerful baseline game. The world No. 24 won eight of the next nine games to take the first set and open a 4-0 lead in the second.
And while Hercog gave Slovenian fans a glimpse of hope by erasing one of Petkovic’s breaks in the sixth game, the German quickly composed herself again to complete a dominant victory.
“Today I felt really well; I felt comfortable on the court. I had a game plan that I was able to stick to and I think that was the key to the match,” Petkovic said of her performance.
“I wanted to have control of the match, because I knew that it would be tough if Polona was to start moving me around. I was definitely very focused on taking control from the beginning of each point.”
In the second reverse singles rubber, Julia Goerges cast aside yesterday’s loss to Hercog to cruise past world No. 147 Masa Zec-Peskiric. The world No. 34 displayed some of the powerful hitting that has helped her propel up the world rankings in the past year, as she racked up a total of 36 winners.
Even a temporary drop in concentration in the first set – after quickly taking a 3-1 lead, she lost three straight games - would not derail her efforts to ensure that Germany avoided having to face a tough Slovenian doubles team in a fifth-rubber decider.
Willing herself on, she hit winners from all around the baseline to retake the lead in the first, closing it out 64. In the second, Goerges continued feeling her shots and never looked threatened en route to sealing the win for Germany and her first victory in Fed Cup.
“It’s nice to get my first win in the Fed Cup, especially an important win like this,” said Goerges, who admitted to feeling a little pressure during the match. “I put a lot of pressure on myself today… You’re playing for your team, you want to give them the win.”
“I said to myself play your game, you’re not going to get gifts from her… Things worked out well, definitely better than yesterday and the feeling is really nice now.”
Germany completed a 4-1 victory when the Slovenian doubles pair of Hercog and Katarina Srebotnik were forced to retire - due to Hercog suffering from acute pharyngitis - at the end of the first set.