Fed Cup 2009, Slovak Republic 1-1 France



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Sunday April 26, 2009


Fed Cup 2009, Amelie wins to save France

Daniela Hantuchova's who defeated in 3 sets Alize Cornet yesterday, was playing and servinf really well today but Amelie Amelie Mauresmo was ready for Daniela today.

In the first set everything was pretty even on both side then Amelie find a way to break Daniela's serve.

Then won the first set 7-5.

The third set Amelie was doing well bringing them brought it to 5-2.

Then Daniela was serving 0 - 30 came back to hold her sever to make it 5-3 forcing Amelie to serve for the match.

It was a dessaster lost the game

Now all the pressure on Daniela to briong it to a third set thrn Amelie got a 3 match points then Daniela brought it to 40-30 them Amelie won


struck another blow for experience over youth in Limoges on Saturday afternoon, scoring her first-ever win over Dominika Cibulkova in a match that also went the distance. The two Fed Cup veterans are, of course, on opposing sides, which leaves France and the Slovak Republic evenly poised at 1-1 after the first day of their World Group Play-off.

Cornet charts the right course

Hantuchova put her side ahead with a dramatic come-from-behind win, grafted over the course of 2 hours 50 minutes on the clay of the Palais Des Sports Beaublanc, 67(2) 63 64. In defeating Cornet, the 26-year-old defied both the rankings – 19-year-old Cornet currently sits at No. 15, while the Slovak is down at No.40 – and also the pair’s head-to-head, which stood at 3-2.

And for a while at least, Cornet seemed on course to maintain her advantage, and notch that elusive first Fed Cup win. First to admit that the pressure of the occasion had been a factor in her previous competition losses, there were no signs of nerves as she broke Hantuchova twice for 3-0 in the first set. If anything, it was the 26-year-old Slovak who appeared tense.

But the match became competitive when Hantuchova produced a string of forehand winners to win four games straight, to move 4-3 on serve. Cornet wasn’t able to hold onto a break at 6-5, but she steadied to take the ensuing tie-break decisively, for the loss of just two points.

The statistics were telling: Hantuchova had struck 22 winners to Cornet’s eight, but the good work had been cancelled out by 21 unforced errors, against six from Cornet’s racquet. And the trend continued into the second set, until the cracks started to show in Cornet’s counterpunching.

Daniela delivers the goods

At 3-1 in the second set, Cornet appeared on course for a morale-boosting win. However, a loose service game put the scoreline at 3-2 instead of 4-1, and the complexion of the match changed as Hantuchova surged to make it a set apiece.

Once an exchange of breaks was done with early in the third, Hantuchova’s superior all-court play proved an asset as she secured the crucial break. Cornet managed to save match points at 2-5, and retrieve the break, but after temporarily losing her focus over a line call, Hantuchova secured the victory in the 10th game.

“I don’t know why, maybe I was a bit nervous because I saw the end of the match, because at 3-1 on serve I knew that was the time to play even better and get to 4-1,” Cornet said. “But Daniela started to make fewer mistakes, and physically it got a bit tough. I tried to be present at the start of the third set, but it became a real battle.”

Comparing the win to her victory over Conchita Martinez in the 2002 Fed Cup final, Hantuchova was clearly relieved. “Even after I lost the first set I felt I was doing the right things, and that it was a matter of time for things to turn around,” she said. “I knew that playing at home was putting her under a little more pressure. I’m just extremely happy because I gave it everything – I put my heart into it because I was playing for my country.”

Mauresmo plays catch-up

Cornet’s loss was a particular blow to the hosts, because on paper at least, the second singles rubber between 19-year-old Cibulkova and 29-year-old Mauresmo should also have gone the Slovak’s way. Although not much separates them in the rankings at no.17 and no.21 respectively, Cibulkova beat the two-time Grand Slam champion all three times they played last year. Ahead of the tie, the 19-year-old was justifiably confident she had the measure of the former world no.1.

But after clinching the first set 6-4, Cibulkova, who has been under a hip injury cloud, began to fade. “I lost my rhythm early in the second set,” she said. “My injury wasn’t hurting, but I was a little tired, and maybe got into a little bit of a panic. And at that point Amelie started to play really well.”

That was all the encouragement Mauresmo needed, as the Frenchwoman gained in authority for a 46 62 63 win.

“She started really well, taking the ball early and playing aggressively, but I think it was tough for her to keep it up,” she said. “I was able to take control in the second and third sets. I think I served well, which was a factor because although the court is clay it’s pretty fast, so you can do a lot off the serve.

Of the task ahead, Mauresmo added: “Alize is learning about Fed Cup the hard way but she showed today she is close. She was in control and didn’t quite finish it. In these situations you can’t relax and wait for your opponent to give you the match. I’m sure we’ll all talk tonight.”

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