STUTTGART, April 20, 2018
Germany faces one of the toughest challenges the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas can provide in the World Group semi-finals – a clash against 10-time champions Czech Republic at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart this weekend.
Germany’s No. 1 Julia Görges will open the action against World No. 10 Petra Kvitova on Saturday. The Czech is leading 4-1 in their head-to-head series. Görges only won the first meeting between the two in Linz 2010. The 29-year-old from Bad Oldesloe could become just the fifth woman to play Fed Cup for Germany for 10 years if she contests a rubber this weekend. Anna-Lena Gronefeld (13 years), Anke Huber (11), Helga Masthoff (11) and Barbara
Rittner (11) are the only woman to have represented Germany for 10 or more years. Görges has an overall 6-7 win-loss record in Fed Cup singles and an 11-10 win-loss record in the competition overall.
“We are positive, as we had a good week of preparation here in Stuttgart. I have to focus on my own game. That’ll be key,” Görges told after Friday’s draw ceremony.
Kvitova won both her singles rubbers in Czech Republic’s 3-1 victory against Switzerland in the World Group first round in February. The 28-year-old has a 28-10 win-loss record in Fed Cup singles, putting her in third place on the list for most Fed Cup singles match-wins by a Czech player – behind Sukova (45-11) and Hana Mandlikova (34-6). Kvitova is the only player to have been on all 5 Czech title-winning teams between 2011 and 2016.
Kerber to face Pliskova
Next up will be Angelique Kerber taking on World No. 6 Karolina Pliskova. Kerber has won three of her last four rubbers, with her only defeat in that time coming against Elina Svitolina in Germany’s 3-2 victory over Ukraine in the 2017 World Group play-offs. The current World No. 12 has a 13-10 win-loss record in Fed Cup singles rubbers and has never contested a doubles rubber in the competition. Kerber leads 7-3 against Pliskova and also won their last meeting in Dubai earlier this season.
“It will be an even tie but with the support of our fans, we hope to get to our best,” Kerber is looking forward to the matches and a great atmosphere inside the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart.
Pliskova is contesting her 7th tie this weekend. She has lost just 3 rubbers in her previous appearances – to Russia’s Maria Sharapova in the 2015 Final, to Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the 2016 World Group semifinals and to France’s Caroline Garcia in the 2016 Final. She has a 9-3 win-loss record in Fed Cup singles and a 4-0 win-loss record in Fed Cup doubles, with all of her doubles victories coming in decisive 5th rubbers.
— DeutscherTennisBund (@DTB_Tennis) 20. April 2018
Germany’s lone win
The two nations, who last met in the 2014 Fed Cup Final in Prague, have met on eight previous occasions – with Czech Republic winning seven of those contests.
Germany’s only triumph over the Czechs came en route to the first of its two Fed Cup titles in 1987, when, led by Steffi Graf, they defeated the then-Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the World Group semifinals in Vancouver.
Germany is bidding to reach the final for the first time since 2014, when it finished runner-up to this
weekend’s opponent. The team advanced to the stage of the final four after defeating 2017 runner-up Belarus 3-2 in Minsk in the first round in February. Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Tatjana Maria defeated Lidziya Marozava and Aryna Sabalenka in three sets in the decisive doubles rubber.
Last year, Germany fell in the World Group first round for the second straight year, losing to the United States 4-0 in Maui, before defeating Ukraine 3-2 in the World Group play-offs in Stuttgart.