Fed Cup tie poised at 1-1
UPDATE 10:30pm: Sam Stosur has romped to victory in the opening Fed Cup singles rubber, but compatriot Jarmila Gajdosova has lost in straight sets.
In the end, it was worth the wait for Samantha Stosur.
After two days of frustrating rain delays, Stosur gave Australia a strong start in their Fed Cup World Group Play-off tie against Switzerland in Chiasso on Monday.
She defeated Swiss No.2 Stefanie Voegele 6-0 6-4 in just over an hour, showing no signs of the lingering calf problem that has troubled her in recent weeks.
The best-of-five tie was left evenly poised at 1-1, though, as Jarmila Gajdosova was beaten 6-2 6-3 by top-ranked Swiss Romina Oprandi.
The reverse singles will be held later on Monday, with 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty named for her first Fed Cup singles match to replace Gajdosova.
In unusual scenes, both opening singles contests started simultaneously on separate courts as organisers desperately tried to complete the tie in one day.
Both allocated competition days were abandoned due to persistent rain in the southern Swiss city.
The matches were played on humble side courts but there was nothing low-key about Stosur’s first-set performance.
She punished Voegele with a powerful display, needing only 20 minutes to secure the set.
The Swiss world No.56 made her work harder in the second set, but Stosur fought from 3-0 down to secure a straight-sets win.
“It’s just nice to play and obviously it’s been a really long wait so to get out there and get off to a good start was a good feeling,” Stosur told AAP.
“I played pretty solid (in the first set).
“I don’t think she was hitting so many balls the way that she wanted to but I think that was partly the way I was playing against her.”
After being forced out of her past two tournaments due to injury, Stosur’s right calf was heavily strapped but she said it help up well.
“It felt fine, it’s a good sign,” she said.
“Maybe all the rain gave me a couple more days (to recover) which is nice.”
The winner of the tie qualifies for the top-tier World Group in 2014. Alicia Molik’s side is desperate to stay in the top eight after earning promotion last year.
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