It’s all square after the first day of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II tie between Australia and Spain.
Samantha Stosurhad earlier defeated Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez in three sets but then Anabel Medina Garrigues produced a strong effort against Casey Dellacqua, winning 62 63 in one hour 33 minutes to set up what should be an exciting conclusion to the weekend.
“I’m satisfied the way my players did their job,” Spanish captain Miguel Margets said. “Of course it could be better; we were nearer 2-0 than Australia. So I am satisfied but not totally satisfied.
“Sam increased her level of tennis; she started to serve some big serves. She (Maria) did all that she could do. Casey played some extremely hard strokes. The results 62 63 doesn’t show the fight there was. Anabel did a very good job.”
Dellacqua had opened up a 2-0 lead against Medina Garrigues but the slim advantage did not last long. This was their second career meeting; Dellacqua won the previous one in Hobart two years ago. Medina brought the set back on serve in the third game and then broke again in the fifth and seventh games.
The Spaniard reeled off six consecutive games to clinch the set in 32 minutes.
Dellacqua held serve in the first game of the second set but struggled after that, dropping serve in the third and fifth games. However, she was not going to skittle off without a fight and she broke serve in the sixth game with some aggressive play that forced Medina into error. The revival didn’t last long and on match point number two Medina was able to square up the first day.
“I think I played very, very good. I run a lot. I’m very happy with how my knees are on court, better,” Medina Garrigues said. “I was thinking don’t be so far from the line. I was thinking (I should) be close to the line and hit the ball (earlier).”
Dellacqua said Medina got a lot of balls back and played really well, and gave her opponent credit for the good tennis she produced.
“I wasn’t able to close out games and finish points and I think I was a bit impatient,” Dellacqua said. “I guess I’ve got to keep chipping away and keep getting better every day so I can consistently play good tennis throughout the match. She is a quality player.
“I feel really good. I’m going home to recover, tomorrow’s a new day. We’ll have some team discussion and see what tomorrow holds.”
In the reverse singles Stosur will come out against Medina Garrigues first, then Dellacqua will play Martinez Sanchez and the doubles rubber will conclude things – Rennae Stubbs and Alicia Molik will face Nuria Llagostera Vives and Carla Suarez Navarro.
However, both teams are expecting the doubles combinations to be changed which, under the rules, can be done up to one hour before the match.
“They have an option in singles and doubles and so do we,” Australian captain David Taylor said. “Sam is definitely playing, that’s all I can say."
Stosur fights back to give Aussie's early advantage
Samantha Stosur has kept Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez from winning her first singles match in Fed Cup by BNP Paribas as the two nations fight it out in World Group II in Adelaide.
The Australian No. 1 and world No. 11 rallied back from a slow start to beat the Spaniard 26 61 64 in two hours, nine minutes. For Stosur it’s her 16th Fed Cup singles win from 23 matches, while Martinez is 0-3.
Other than a double fault which she served on the first point of the match, it didn’t seem as though Stosur was having trouble with her game. She was moving Martinez Sanchez around the court and striking the ball cleanly.
But in the fifth game things started to go array as the Spaniard began to drop shot more.
Stosur lost her serve with a backhand into the net and then two games later lost her serve again with a forehand error. She was hardly challenging Martinez Sanchez’s service games and was being outplayed by the drop shots that delicately cleared the net.
That shot was played by Martinez Sanchez on set point which had been set up by an ace, and the Spaniard took the set in just 30 minutes.
The Australian’s woes continued into the second set when she faced three break points in the opening game. At 0-40 it seemed like she’d lose a third service game in a row but she managed to hang on and hold serve when the ball clipped the net and dropped in.
The next game was the first time she had a break point on Martinez Sanchez’s serve, but she was not able to capitalise.
That was the last game the Spaniard won in the second set. Stosur was putting the pressure on and Martinez Sanchez was spraying balls all over the place.
She dropped her serve in the fourth and sixth games and with Stosur serving for the set the Aussie turned on the power, levelling the match with a blistering passing shot down the line.
Stosur jumped to a quick start in the final set, breaking serve in the first game when Martinez dumped a forehand volley in the net, but in the fourth game Stosur had to defend tooth and nail when she faced four break points before finally going up 3-1.
It was at this point that Stosur removed her sunglasses which she had been wearing throughout the match. The late afternoon sun had dipped behind the stands and the court now had an even light.
Stosur had taken complete control of the match and was rolling through when she led 4-1, but Martinez Sanchez staged a bit of a rally and won three of the next four games. Stosur had three match points in the ninth game with Martinez serving, but all were saved.
It took one more game for Stosur to close it out. On her fourth match point she put in a deep kicking serve that Martinez Sanchez over hit on her forehand.