Angelique Kerber put Germany into their first Fed Cup final in 22 years with a fighting victory over
Australia’s Samantha Stosur in the semi-final in Brisbane yesterday.
World No. 7 Kerber fought back from dropping the opening set to beat former US Open champion Stosur 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in 2 hours, 14 minutes to give Germany an unassailable 3-0 lead over Australia.
The Australian pair of Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty prevented a wipeout when they claimed the “dead” doubles rubber 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 10-2 over Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld for the tie to finish 3-1.
Germany will play either the Czech Republic or Italy in the final.
Left-hander Kerber showed great resilience to bounce back in the pivotal singles rubber, fighting off the 19th-ranked Stosur to take victory and put Germany into this year’s final.
Germany last won the competition in 1992, when Steffi Graf and Anke Huber starred in the team that defeated Spain.
The Germans took a firm grip on the semi-final, winning Saturday’s opening two singles rubbers in the best-of-five match tie.
“It’s a very special moment for me and the whole team,” Kerber said. “It feels 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 was Kerber’s first win in three encounters against Stosur.
Kerber reeled off seven consecutive games to lead 1-0 in the third set, when Stosur double-faulted on break point.
The were breaks in next two games, but it was the third game, which lasted 15 draining minutes, when Stosur was broken, that made a lasting impact.
Kerber opened a 5-2 lead and served for the match, but Stosur kept the match alive for two more games.
Serving for the tie for the second time, Kerber made no mistake with an ace on match point.
“It was overall reasonably disappointing, especially when you don’t get through,” Stosur said. “I don’t know if I can fight any harder than I did in that match.”
Dellacqua’s singles match with Andrea Petkovic was not played.
In Ostrava, Czech Republic, winners in 2011 and 2012, were 2-0 to the good against defending champions Italy, shrugging off a 20-minute power cut in the process.
Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova handed the Czech Republic the 2-0 lead in their semi-final.
Safarova, the world No. 26 and Czech No. 2, swept 11th-ranked Italian No. 1 Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 11 minutes.
It took sixth-ranked Kvitova five minutes longer to see off world No. 54 Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2, despite action being held up for 20 minutes due to a power outage.