LEIPZIG, February 7, 2016
Belinda Bencic and Martina Hingis booked a first Fed Cup semi-final for Switzerland in 18 years, as the pair won the deciding doubles rubber against Germany‘s Anna-Lena Grönefeld and Andrea Petkovic in Leipzig.
When Hingis played her last doubles match in the Fed Cup, Bencic was one year old. The 18-year-old and her 17 years older mentor spoilt the German’s party on Sunday, winning the final rubber 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 11 minutes.
Bencic had earlier put the Swiss 2-1 ahead with an accomplished 7-6, 63 victory against Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, before Fed Cup singles debutant Annika Beck levelled the tie by beating Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-4.
“It feels great. The last time we were in the semis, Martina was part of the team which is extraordinary. This is a good team, this is a pretty young team. I have no idea where we can go, but we want to find out,” Switzerland’s captain Heinz Günthardt told.
“It feels awesome next to Belinda to play with her now and [win] the deciding point. It was tough at the beginning for me to be on the side bench for the first four matches, you are cheering them on and then you’ve got to go out. It took me a little while to get used to it but I feel I had great support from her,” Hingis added.
Germany’s hope Kerber admitted that tiredness had caught up with her after a whirlwind week with a media marathon in Melbourne and the jetlag taking from Australia. “Of course I was a little bit tired, especially at the end of the first set, but I was trying to take all my energy from the crowd and my team. Belinda played very solid at the end and well done to her. Today I gave all I had left,” the new world number two stated.
The home team’s captain Barbara Rittner could also take some positive from the weekend. “It’s tough, as we lost the doubles pretty easily but there were so many positive things. We’ve had a great week for the whole team and the atmosphere here in Leipzig was unbelievable. I think everybody could feel it and I am just very proud of this team. We will try to stay in the World Group to get another chance next year to play for the world cup, but there’s a lot of strong countries and we have to wait for the draw and take it match by match.”