An impressive win for Andrea Petkovic over Samantha Stosur helped put Germany in the driving seat against Australia in the Fed Cup semifinals.
WTA Staff

BRISBANE, Australia - Wins for Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber on Pat Rafter Arena on Saturday took Germany to within touching distance of its first Fed Cup final in over two decades.

Germany's last appearance in the final came back in 1992, when, on home soil in Frankfurt, Steffi Graf and Anke Huber inspired the team to victory over Spain.

Andrea Petkovic got the visitors off to the perfect start, defeating Australian No.1 Sam Stosur, 61 76(7), before Angelique Kerber strengthened their grip on the tie by brushing aside Casey Dellacqua, 61 60.

"I saw two great matches and I was very proud of the performance of my two girls," Germany captain Barbara Rittner told "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."

A few weeks ago, Petkovic picked up the biggest title of her career, in Charleston, and she carried this form into the early stages of her encounter with Stosur, breaking in the opening game with a cross-court forehand winner.

Although Stosur restored parity immediately, the respite was short lived as Petkovic reeled off the next five games to take the set. Perhaps lulled into a sense of complacency, or maybe just hindered after self-inflicted shin injury, the German's level dropped in the second, falling an early break behind.

Stosur soon found herself serving for the set, but, not for the first time on home soil, she was unable to close it out. Petkovic made her pay, and, despite experiencing her own finishing line nerves, eventually wrapped up victory on her fifth match point.

"My energy level dropped a little, I don't know why and Sam started serving better; heavier and deeper and she pushed me back," Petkovic said. "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."

Kerber was even more impressive, dominating Dellacqua from first point until last, never allowing the home crowd to get into the match and completing a one-sided triumph after just 51 minutes.

"I played very good," Kerber said. "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. All the same, it is a very good feeling to be up 2-0."

Like Germany, Australia, whose last title came 40 years ago, is also bidding to end a long wait for Fed Cup glory, and Alicia Molik's side now need to win all three of Sunday's rubbers to keep hopes of glory alive.

"I was quietly confident our worst result would be 1-1 today," Molik said. "But I truly believe we will be better tomorrow because of today. We don't have anything to lose.

"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."