Petkovic puts Germany in the driver’s seat
UPDATE: German Andrea Petkovic has upset Australia's Sam Stosur 6-1 7-6(7) in the first rubber of the World Group semifinal in Brisbane on Saturday.
UPDATE: Germany’s Andrea Petkovic has dealt a crucial early blow to Australia’s chance of reaching its first Fed Cup final in 21 years after a 6-1, 7-6(7) defeat of Sam Stosur in Brisbane on Saturday.
The world No.28, coming off a title run on clay in Charleston earlier this month, brought momentum to Brisbane and it showed early.
She broke each of Stosur’s four service games in the opening set to race through the opener 6-1 before the Australian mustered some aggression to give her home crowd something to cheer about.
“I don’t know why I started that well actually. I felt really comfortable on court. I was nervous, I was definitely nervous, but it didn’t affect my game so much in the beginning,” Petkovic said.
Stosur had claimed the pair’s only previous match, at a Fed Cup World Group play-off in Stuttgart two years ago, but down on form in 2014, the world No.19 struggled early on when her German opponent was able to pin her behind the baseline.
“No I wasn’t nervous or overly nervous. I think she just came out hitting the ball very clean, very deep. It puts you on the back foot a bit but I need to be able to do exactly that back to my opponent,” Stosur said.
Breaking for 2-1 in the second set, with a whipping forehand catching the line, the Australian began to control her aggression and served for the set at 5-4, scrambling for a drop shot to stab it over the head of Petkovic for a winner.
It was to little avail.
She would drop serve but Petkovic was not immune to a bout of nerves when faced with closing the set out.
The German squandered four match points in the tiebreak, before clinching it on her fifth; a lucky escape, she admits, but a win all the same.
“I think my energy level dropped just a little, I don’t know why,” Petkovic said. “And then Sam started serving much better and she was hitting the ball heavier and deeper and it pushed me a little bit back behind the baseline and when you’re this further back it makes you miss some balls. As I said on the court I was a little lucky in the end but I was glad I got through in two sets.”
Playing for her country in her own back yard, there was no denying Stosur’s frustration but she was looking to draw positives ahead of her reverse singles match with Angelique Kerber on Sunday.
“I think I put myself in a position in that second set and wasn’t able to, I guess, finish it off, which for sure is disappointing but at least I got that final fightback after the first set. (But) at the end of the day it doesn’t count for too much,” Stosur said.
“There’s no doubt she’s striking the ball pretty well.”