Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fed Cup "weekend" to continue tomorrow

There was even more rain today for Spain and the Czech Republic, who have still played just one rubber of the weekend Fed Cup tie. Play will resume tomorrow.

In the meantime, Angelique Kerber won her second rubber--this time against Dominika Cibulkova--and sealed Germany's victory over the Slovak Republic. As expected, Cibulkova put up quite a fight, taking the second set to a tiebreak after Kerber was only two points away from giving Germany the win. In the end, though, Kerber came through with a 6-3, 7-6 score. In the World Group, the Slovak Republic-Germany tie probably offered fans the most thrilling tennis of the weekend.

Somewhat surprisingly--and adding to the flavor, even though it was a dead rubber--the Slovaks won the doubles match. Jana Cepelova and Magdalena Rybarikova beat Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.

Australia defeated Russia 4-0, which was a predictable scoreline, and team Italy defeated the USA 3-1. Madison Keys and Lauren Davis--playing in her hometown of Cleveland--won the dead doubles rubber against two very inexperienced Italian players.

To get the tie victory, however, it was Karin Knapp who won her second singles rubber when she defeated Alison Riske 6-3, 7-5. Knapp was so anxious, she had to serve for the match three times. But with all those opportunities, Riske was never aggressive enough to move the match to three sets.

Speaking of the USA-Italy tie, here's some wisdom from USA television commentators:

"Karin Knapp--Madison Keys is going to put her under some pressure."

"What a surprise; they pulled Madison Keys."

You get the picture.

In World Group II, Canada prevailed 3-1 over Serbia, Poland beat Sweden3-2, and Argentina defeated Japan 3-1. And in what turned out to be the most interesting World Group II tie, France was victorious, 3-2, over Switzerland. Alize Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic (of course!) won the deciding doubles rubber, defeating Timea Bacsinszky and Belinda Bencic 7-5, 6-4.

This was just about as close as a Fed Cup tie could get, and the main thing we can get out of it--other than captain Amelie Mauresmo's wise use of Mladenovic--is that Bencic won both of her singles rubbers. She beat Cornet and she ran over Razzano. Keep watching Bencic.

In the World Group semifinals, Germany will play Australia, and Italy will play the winner of the Czech Republic vs. Spain tie.

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