Fed Cup 2009, Amazing turnaround puts USA in final



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Monday April 27, 2009


Fed Cup 2009, Amazing turnaround puts USA in final

The USA stormed into the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas final with victory over the Czech Republic after doubles pairing Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Liezel Huber came back from match point down to win the fifth and decisive rubber 26 76(1) 61 against Kveta Peschke and Iveta Benesova.

Mattek-Sands had suffered the disappointment of losing her second singles rubber earlier in the day 63 61 to Lucie Safarova, who was a late replacement on day two for teammate Iveta Benesova. But the 24 year-old American certainly redeemed herself with her gutsy performance in the final rubber alongside doubles specialist Liesel Huber.

Lucie Safarova

The pair had been a set and 5-2 down to Pescke and Benesova as the experienced Czech duo had played solidly from the back of the court and taken advantage of short balls. But a couple of errors from the Czechs at the end of the second set allowed Mattek-Sands and Huber back into the match, and once the Americans had the bit between their teeth they never relinquished control, breaking the Czechs twice in the final set to clinch an historic victory.

“I knew Bethanie could do it,” Huber said of her partner after the match. “Bethanie had a tough loss earlier today and I knew if there was going to be somebody out there to bring her up it would be me. I just kept plugging away and then at the end it was Bethanie who was carrying me so it was so much fun.”

Glatch the rising star

The USA had been given a lifeline earlier in the day when Alexa Glatch once again defied her ranking and inexperience to defeat Petra Kvitova 62 61 and level the tie at two rubbers a piece.

The 19 year-old American has proved herself to be a rising tennis star of American tennis this week, winning two straight sets matches against top 50 players and playing a vital role in her team’s progression to the final of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

Glatch explained after her match how she handled the pressure of playing to keep the USA in the tie. “It’s tough coming out playing second knowing that this is it and it’s either win or go home,” she said. So I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve been able to play well, get these wins and step up to the plate. This whole weekend has been unbelievable for me.”

Great season for Fernandez

This victory for the USA is a particularly proud moment for team captain Mary-Joe Fernandez who has coached her team to the final of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas in her first year as captain.

“The doubles was a really emotional match, there were so many ups and downs,” she said. What a fight though. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of courage and that’s what Fed Cup’s about. It’s about the team and working together and they found a way to win the match and it’s a thrill to be in the final.”

In the final in November the USA will meet Italy, who won their semifinal tie against Russia this weekend by four rubbers to one. The tie won’t be an easy one for the USA, as the Italians showed their strength defeating the ITF’s number one ranked team in Castellaneta Marina this weekend.

The Italians have won the Fed Cup only once before in 2006 when they defeated Belgium in the final. The Americans by contrast have not won a Fed Cup title since 2000 and Mary-Joe Fernandez is hoping that her team’s cause in November will be helped by the addition of the Williams sisters.

“Venus and Serena are the best players in America and basically the whole world so hopefully they can play. You have to pick your best team so I’ll be calling them and getting them ready.”

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is the world’s leading professional sport for women with more than 2,200 players representing 96 nations competing for more than $86 million in prize money at the Tour’s 51 events and four Grand Slams in 31 countries. More than 4.8 million people attended women’s tennis events in 2008 with millions more watching events on television networks around the world. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season concludes with the Sony Ericsson Championships – Doha 2009 in Doha, Qatar, from October 27-November 1, and the inaugural Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali, Indonesia from November 4-8. Further information on the Tour can be found on the Internet at www.sonyericssonwtatour.com




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