Fed Cup: Some of AUS-UKR and something else
As it seemed, I have missed a very exciting day of Fed Cup play yesterday as the Australian-Ukraine tie went to the distance, boo hoo hoo. All the same, I had hoped for it to go to the distance, although not necessarily the outcome as Australia was bundled out of the World Group, losing 3-2 to Ukraine.
Jarka Groth continued her solid form from Saturday, easily beating Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-3 to give Australia a 2-1 lead to start the day of play. As I have said before, Jarka really has a good clay-court game, she moves really well on the surface and her game seems to be clicking – at least for those two days of play. Really hoping that she’ll continue this form throughout the clay season!
Anastasia Rodionova then faced Olga Savchuk. To be honest, I really expected Rodionova – mental headcase and all – to win this one, just because Savchuk clearly wasn’t very strong as a (clay-court) player when I watched her play on Saturday. But maybe Rodionova was struggling albeit for confidence, I don’t know. She was visibly very upset on Saturday after the Tsurenko match, and on Sunday, she couldn’t quite hold it together to win the first set despite going an early break up. She gave up the break, and lost the tiebreaker. With the second set – I think both girls really gave it all they had – Rodionova trying to stay alive to win the tie, and Savchuk trying to stay alive to give her team another chance to win. Fittingly it went to a tiebreaker again, and eventually Savchuk gritted out hard-fought win, finally winning the match in straight sets, 7(3)-6, 7(12)-6.
Sophie Ferguson and Sally Peers never got a chance to see the court – as they were replaced with Jarka and Anastasia for the all-important final doubles match. Our Aussie girls came out and blew the Ukrainians off-court, dishing them a bagel. I remember checking Twitter and thinking it was all fine and dandy and OI OI OI. When I checked back again, the Aussies had lost the second set in a tiebreaker – where Anastasia had match points on her serve – and was playing in the third. They went an early break down – but managed to break back just as the Ukraine girls were serving for the match. That sliver of hope was short-lived though, as Team Ukraine then broke the Aussie serve to clinch the match AND the tie – 6-0, 6-7(3), 3-6.
Ultimately I AM disappointed with the results – as I most definitely do hope for Australia to remain in the World Group (and perhaps not draw ITALY for the first round next year, yanno) – but Team Ukraine deserved the win. Their team spirit is heart-warming, and hey, who could help, but be warmed by the underdog story? They beat us without the Bondarenkos (although we were without Sammy and Jelena) and that is worth celebrating.
In other Fed Cup news:
1) In the first semi, poor Italy was hapless against Russia, without Franny Schiavone AND Flavs Pennetta. It certainly didn’t help that Russia fielded Vera Zvonareva AND Sveta “CRAAAAY” Kuznetsova. Italy went down 0-5 to Russia – which was kinda owwie.
2) Second semi: Czech Republic, spear-headed by Petra Kvitova, scored a win over Belgium. Before the play, I did think the pivotal point was the match between Kvitova and Wickmayer, and I was right…ish. Kvitova won that match, but it did boil down to the doubles, which the Team Czech Republic won, ultimately winning the tie 3-2. So it’s Russia v Czech Republic in the finals, y’all!
3) Germany BLASTED US of A off-court – it was a white-wash of 5-0. USA didn’t field their strongest – missing Miss Mattek-Sands and her crazy outfits. Germany fielded their top players in Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges, who were simply too strong for Melanie Oudin and Christina McHale.
4) With Miss Muffet Ivanovic and Miss Glitter Jankovic out in full force for Serbia, they managed to take out Cibulkova-lead Slovak Republic 3-2, despite a stutter by Miss Muffet in the first reverse singles.
5) French girls continued to be as spazzy as French boys – or maybe Spanish girls are just better (like the Spanish boys). Spain beat France convincingly with a score of 4-1 to remain in the world group. And Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez was playing!!! Where has she been?? I hope she’s back for good…or for a longer time at least!