LEIPZIG, February 6, 2016
Germany and Switzerland ended the opening day of their Fed Cup World Group first round tie at one-apiece in Leipzig after emphatic wins for Belinda Bencic and Angelique Kerber.
Despite lively home support from 4,200 spectators, Andrea Petkovic has looked distinctly out of sorts against Belinda Bencic in the opening match. She saves one match point against the Swiss world No.11 but then whacks the ball into the net to concede a 3-6, 4-6 loss after one hour and 25 minutes.
“I simply wasn’t good enough today,” a disappointed Petkovic stated afterwards.
Bencic was understandably satisfied with her performance and said: “Of course the first match is very important. I’m happy I could make a lead here. I’m just happy how I was very calm in the important moments and I just played what I needed to play.”
So it was over to Angelique Kerber to level the tie for Germany. Just seven days after winning her first Grand Slam title in Australia, the new world number two was swinging well and converted her fifth match point for a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Timea Bacsinszky in 74 minutes.
“It was an amazing feeling to be back on court today,” Kerber told afterwards. “The atmosphere was fantastic. Of course I am a bit tired but the team and the spectators supported me in the best possible way, so that I do not really feel it.”
Germany’s captain Barbara Rittner said: “Angelique did unbelievably well. To beat Timea 6-1, 6-3 is awesome. I think everybody could see that she lost a little bit of energy in the second set, but she handled it unbelievable and she can be really proud. We are proud of her.”
Bencic goes into Sunday’s first reverse singles rubber with a 2-0 head-to-head record over Kerber, something that could prove a psychological factor.
“This is an extremely tough match for us but if Belinda plays to her maximum abilities, she has a shot against anyone and she’s proved that. She’s beaten pretty much anyone in the Top 5, “ Switzerland’s captain Heinz Günthardt said.
ITF president Jeff Haggerty was also among the spectators on Saturday and is looking forward to the conclusion of the tie. “I couldn’t have made a better choice,” he said after the first two singles. “This is a wonderful tie at highest level with great players participating in a fantastic atmosphere.”