Saturday, April 16, 2016

Czech Republic and Switzerland tied at 1-1 in Fed Cup semifinal play

It didn't surprise me that Barbora Strycova won her initial Fed Cup rubber today against Timea Bacsinszky. Strycova hadn't dropped a set against Bacsinszky the other three times they played each other. And she didn't drop a set today, beating the Swiss team's leader 6-0, 6-2. It was Karolina Pliskova, however, who stumbled, and was defeated in three sets by Victorija Golubic, who is ranked number 129 in the world. That's how Fed Cup works--players we hear little of during the rest of the season suddenly rise to the occasion in team play and pull huge upsets. Here is the shot of the day, which gave Golubic the second set:

In the other semifinal, Fed Cup boss Kiki Bertens beat Caroline Garcia in straight sets, but Kiki Mladenovic evened the score for France when she defeated Richel Hogenkamp, also in straight sets. Poor Hogenkamp. A few words from Joan Jett will have to suffice:

Assuming the rosters don't change, Bacsinszky will get a shot at Pliskova tomorrow, which could get interesting, given both of their poor showings on day 1. Strycova will play Golubic, who will be hard pressed to repeat her success, but hey--this is Fed Cup! In the other pairing, Hogenkamp will get a crack at Garcia, and then this:

In the World Group playoffs, the USA dominated Australia in the opening rubbers, with Madison Keys easily defeating Dasha Gavrilova, and Christina McHale taking advantage of a (sadly typical) breakdown by Sam Stosur following the opening set. Stosur did rally in the third set, but by that time, McHale had a lot of confidence, and took the set 7-5. The Tennis Channel commentary by Lindsay Davenport was hilarious, only not in a good way. In the first set, she was practically a cheerleader for Stosur, and in the second and third, she was trash-talking her.

The Spanish team ran over the Italian team, and it will be interesting to see what happens when the reverse rubbers are played tomorrow. Both Errani (or whoever--perhaps Schiavone again) and Vinci have to win their singles matches; it doesn't look good for Italy. There's no putting in the capable (if shaky) Camila Giorgi--she refuses to compete in Fed Cup.

Angellique Kerber repeated her Charleston success over Irina-Camelia Begu, a player who has sometimes given the Australian Open champion trouble. That put Germany up 1-0 over Romania, but the main course was yet to come. Andrea Petkovic, who fights brutally in Fed Cup matches, brought that fight against Simona Halep for two hours and 49 minutes. It was a match worth watching, and Halep won it 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. This was always going to be a thrilling match-up, and now it's even more so.

In other (big) Fed Cup news--Schmiedy won a match! Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, whose promising career has taken a very deep dive this season, defeated Canada's Aleks Wozniak in the second rubber played between Slovakia and Canada in the World Group II playoffs. In the opening rubber, Dominika Cibulkova defeated Francoise Abanda, so Slovakia is up 2-0.


Todd.Spiker said...

Whew! That was a real near-miss for Halep. After twice failing to serve out the match, I thought a win was out of reach. Won't even think about the damage that might have done if she HAD lost, with the pressure, the fans and even her parents all coming together in one single moment.

Diane said...

And yet, with Petko, you kind of have to expect that. Andrea just doesn't give up in these Fed Cup matches; I kind of expected what we got.