Fed Cup Semifinals Set, Almost...
Published February 09, 2014 12:14
The first round of the World Group at Fed Cup by BNP Paribas took place over the weekend, with three countries moving through but the last spot in the final four still up in the air due to untimely rain.
Australia was the first of the three countries to move through. After Sam Stosur and Casey Dellacqua won the first two singles rubbers against Russia on Saturday, Stosur sealed the deal with a 59-minute, 62 63 win over Victoria Kan in the first reverse singles rubber. The other reverse singles rubber was skipped and Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty made it 4-0 with a victory in the doubles rubber.
The Australians are now through to the World Group semifinals for the first time since 1993.
"Wow - it's fantastic," Stosur said when given the stat. "Obviously it's been a very long time coming. We thought we had a good shot to win this tie against Russia, and it's great we were able to do that. And from here you never know what's going to happen, so it's a great feeling to be in with a chance."
The press dropped some more knowledge on Stosur - she was her opponent's favorite player.
"I didn't know that - but after seeing the way she plays it makes a little bit of sense!" she said.
Awaiting Australia in the semifinals will be Germany, who after going up 2-0 on Saturday sealed the tie as Angelique Kerber edged Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets in the first reverse singles rubber, 63 76(5). Slovakia won the doubles rubber later to close the gap in the final score of the tie, 3-1.
"We both played very well today - Dominika was fighting until the last point - but I just tried to play point by point too, and I'm so happy I could help us win this tie," Kerber said. "Right now I'm not even thinking about the semifinals - I think we're just going to be celebrating this victory tonight!"
Cibulkova, who was playing for the first time since her run to the Australian Open final, was disappointed with the weekend, but she came so very close against two of the game's very best.
"I wanted to win, especially for our people who came out and made it a full house here, but I played well. It just wasn't enough," Cibulkova said. "I was fighting until the last point and knew I had a chance, but I really hope to win Fed Cup one day. I'm going to do my best to experience it one day."
Karin Knapp and Camila Giorgi put Italy up 2-0 against the United States on Saturday, and a 63 75 victory from Knapp against Alison Riske in the first reverse singles rubber on Sunday sealed the tie. The other reverse singles rubber was skipped and the Americans won the doubles to make it 3-1.
"I think it means a lot because we won against a really tough, tough team," Knapp said after her win over Riske. "They're all high-ranked and we won in America - winning away from home is never easy.
"It's also a great win for us because we came here without our top players."
The other World Group first round tie - between Spain and the Czech Republic - will be completed on Monday after rain wreaked havoc in Seville, Spain over the weekend. Spain leads 1-0 but the Czech team was up in the second singles rubber - Klara Zakopalova led 63 20 - when the rain stopped play.
Check back on wtatennis.com on Monday to read about the conclusion of that last tie.