Australia are fighting to stay alive after Germany cruised to a 2-0 lead in their Fed Cup semi-final tie in Brisbane on Saturday.
The long wait for another Fed Cup title looks set to last at least another year for Australia after Germany cruised to a 2-0 lead in their semi-final in Brisbane on Saturday.
Australia’s No.2 Casey Dellacqua was blown away 6-1 6-0 in 50 minutes by world No.7 Angelique Kerber in the second singles rubber at Pat Rafter Arena.
Former US Open champion Sam Stosur suffered an upset 6-1 7-6 (9-7) 101-minute loss to former world No.9 Andrea Petkovic in the opener.
Aiming to make their first Fed Cup final in 21 years and break a 40-year title drought, Australia are now fighting to stay alive ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles and doubles rubbers.
“I was quietly confident our worst result would be 1-1 today,” Australian captain Alicia Molik said.
“But I truly believe we will be better tomorrow because of today.
“We don’t have anything to lose.”
Molik pointed to Stosur’s 2-0 record against Kerber and backed world No.53 Dellacqua – who has three wins over top 20 players this year – bouncing back against Petkovic.
Dellacqua will also combine with Ash Barty – who made three grand slam finals together in 2013 – in the doubles.
“Casey is not defined by one match,” Molik said.
World No.19 Stosur had hoped to provide a dream start for Australia after inspiring an upset over Germany the last time they met in Stuttgart in 2012.
Instead, Stosur added to her dusty 2014 form.
The former world No.4 has made it past the third round at only one tournament this year, and again appeared to buckle early under the weight of expectation on a home court.
While world No.28 Petkovic claimed her opponent faced a “tougher mental state” than her under the local spotlight, Stosur denied she succumbed to pressure.
“I wasn’t overly nervous. I thought she came out hitting the ball very clean and deep – that puts you on the backfoot,” she said.
“At least I was able to fight back. But at the end of the day that doesn’t really count for much.”
Stosur led 5-3 in the second set before Petkovic forced a tiebreaker and converted her fourth match point.
It was all one-way traffic in the second rubber.
Dellacqua got on the board only when she broke Kerber in the fifth game.
“She played the perfect match,” German captain Barbara Rittner said of Kerber.