Saturday, April 19, 2014

Czech Republic and Germany each one rubber away from Fed Cup final

Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber didn't drop any sets in their Fed Cup wins over Australia today. Petkovic beat Sam Stosur 6-1, 7-6, and Kerber ran over Casey Dellacqua, 6-1, 6-0. It was like that for the Czech Republic, too. Lucie Safarova, continuing her excellent form of late, defeated Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1, then Petra Kvitova took care of Camila Girogi, 6-4, 6-2.

Russia, led by Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, now have a 2-0 score against Argentina in the World Group Play-Offs. Spain and Poland are 1-1, with one Radwanska winning and the other (Ula) losing.

Canada is 2-0 over the Slovak Republic, though both rubbers went three sets. Aleksandra Wozniak defeated Jana Cepelova 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, and Genie Bouchard defeated Kristina Kucova 7-6, 2-6, 6-1. 

In the USA vs. France contest, Caroline Garcia expertly handled Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2. Garcia has had problems with her mental game in the past, but her double title in Bogota last week showed that she has done some off-court work. Against Stephens, she was close to meticulous.

Commentator Rennae Stubbs was all over captain Mary Joe Fernandez and the USA team for not actively cheering Stephens on and even getting in her face a bit. Maybe Stephens' teammates are tired of all the hype followed by the failure to deliver and the "I'm in no hurry" speech? Just wondering. Garcia had never before played a Fed Cup match, and she looked like she was there to win every moment. No so much Sloane Stephens.

Ah, but the drama was to come. Alize Cornet was on next, so of course! Cornet (who generally runs about a 7.5 on the Lisicki/Tipsarevic scale) was her usual self, expressing all over the place, getting down on herself, jumping around (in a good way), and causing captain Amelie Mauresmo's brow to furrow just a bit. She played Madison Keys, who broke her when she served for the first set at 5-3. The set went to a tiebreak, which Cornet won.

Cornet became preoccupied with her left thigh, which was apparently strained--or she had a cramp--and had trouble pushing off for her serve. Considering that her second serve was already in the Errani category, it didn't look good for the Frenchwoman. She took a medical timeout and returned, only to get broken again when she served for the set at 5-4. But this time, when the set went to a tiebreak, it was Keys who won it.

Keys went up two breaks in the third set, but then Cornet broke back for 2-4. But by this time, Cornet--struggling with her leg and her serve--was kind of a mess, and Keys got another break, then served for the match and went down three break points. She saved two, but then double-faulted. Then she had a match point on Cornet's serve, which Cornet saved. Then, with her 14th and 15th double faults, Cornet was beaten, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.

The match lasted a few minutes short of three hours (a typical Cornet outing), and it wasn't very pretty to watch, but credit to Keys for hanging in and keeping her team comfortably in the mix. It was a big win for her. As for Cornet, she's probably exhausted. She played three consecutive three-set matches on her way to the title in Katowice last week.

In the World Group II Play-Offs, Romania leads Serbia 1-0. Sorana Cirstea defeated best friend Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. And if anyone on the WTA tour is less predictable than Cirstea, it would be Ivanovic. The second rubber, in which Simona Halep was up a break over Bojana Jovanovski, was rained out and will be played tomorrow.

Also in the World Group II Play-Offs, the Netherlands and Japan are 1-1, Sweden is 2-0 over Thailand, and Brazil is 0-2 against Switzerland.


Anonymous said...

A glimmer ... Kvitova won her Fed Cup matches, and her serve has improved significantly. Not erratic at all lately.

Diane said...

I noticed that. I felt like she would pull herself together for Fed Cup, amd I'm glad she did.