Australian team looks forward to Fed Cup play-off
Australia’s women have won the right to play off for a place in World Group II after beating New Zealand in the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania zonal final in Perth today.
Australia’s top-ranked player Samantha Stosur had a comfortable 6-1 6-4 win against world No.57 Marina Erakovic, while Jelena Dokic was earlier forced to battle in her 6-4 6-4 win over unranked Diane Hollands.
Stosur, the world No.43, and Dokic, now holding down 91st place on the WTA rankings, are both confident Australia can now win back the World Group II spot they lost in 2007.
Stosur said she was happy she had left her best tennis until the final of the four-day event and “relieved” her win had put Australia through to a play-off in April against one of the losers from the World Group II round-robin events.
“I think going in with that one-up definite helps me not be nervous or uptight about anything,” she said.
“I’d also played Marina a couple of times and played well against her and knew just what I wanted to do.
“So it was just a matter of whether I was going to execute it and right from the first game I felt settled and good.”
Stosur said Dokic’s presence had lifted the team, which won all its matches at the zonal Group I event and is looking forward to the chance of joining the eight-team World Group II.
“I think we’ve got a great chance of getting there,” Stosur said.
“Right from when we first got here we thought we had a good team … three of us in the top 100 and Rennae in the doubles and Casey or myself able to play with Stubbsy in the doubles matches. It’s a really good combination.
“Obviously the next tie is going to be tough depending who it’s against and where it is, but I think we’ve got a great chance.”
Australia has not held a Group I place since 2004 and providing it wins all its ties in the meantime, it will have to wait until 2011 to get it back.
Dokic said she was pleased with the way she had recovered to give Australia a one-nil lead in the three-rubber tie.
She trailed 0-3 in the first set and 0-2 in the second against the slightly built Hollands, who does not have an official ranking and had struggled in singles matches during the event.
“It’s not always easy when you’re supposed to win easy,” Dokic said.
“She started well. She was just swinging and everything was going in the first couple of games of the match.
“It was very hard to adjust to the wind, one side was really with the wind and the other side was completely against it.
“I didn’t play well, but sometimes you have to win when you’re not playing well.
“You’re not going to get up every day and be in your top form.
“But I think mentally I was extremely good. I was down in both sets and the really key games, at three-all and four-all, I won them, so you have to be happy with that.”
Casey Dellacqua and Rennae Stubbs beat Kairangi Vano and Shona Lee in the doubles rubber 6-2 6-2 to give Australia clean sweeps in all four of their ties at the event.