Fed Cup: Stosur gives Australia 2-1 edge
Sam Stosur got Australia off to a perfect start on Day 2 of its Fed Cup tie against Slovakia, scoring a gritty victory over fellow top 30 player Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
Team spearhead Sam Stosur has delivered Australia 2-1 lead in their Fed Cup World Group II tie over Slovakia, overcoming a rocky start to secure a straight-sets victory over world No.29 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
Stosur had recovered from being 5-1 down in the opening set to take the rubber 7-6(5) 7-5, giving her a clean sweep in the singles matches after victory over Jana Cepelova on Day 1.
The 31-year-old Stosur called on her fighting qualities to recover from an early double-break in the first set to force a tiebreak, which she won before again falling behind in the second set.
However, despite making an alarming 51 unforced errors in the match, it was Stosur’s strong serving and powerful groundstrokes – which delivered 26 winners and caused Schmiedlova 23 forced errors – which paid off in the end.
“(Being) 5-1 down wasn’t the ideal position to be in but I didn’t feel panicked about the scoreline or anything like that. I still felt like I was doing the right thing most of the time, I just wasn’t executing it well enough. But she came out playing very well at the start,” Stosur said.
“Just kept trying to do things a little bit better, and as the games started rolling by I was able to do that and play a really good level of tennis.”
Cibulkova levels tie
Later on Sunday, Dominika Cibulkova was subbed in for Jana Cepelova in the second reverse singles rubber and made short work of Australian teen Kimberly Birrell.
Birrell, making her Fed Cup debut in a live rubber, started admirably and looked promising in the first set before being broken for the first time in the eighth game.
Cibulkova, a former world No.10 who last month beat Birrell in Hobart Open, sensed her opportunity and pounced.
The 26-year-old peeled off eight straight games to leave Birrell shellshocked – until the youngster earned a break back late in the second set to avoid being bageled.