The rebranded, renewed and repackaged Fed Cup is back this time with an interesting format. It is a world cup like format in which 12 top women’s tennis nations congregate in a host country(Czech Republic) some having won qualifiers whilst others receiving automatic qualification based on results from 2019 Fed Cup. The countries are divided into 4 groups of 3 with the group winners going through to the semis. Group A has France, Russia and Canada. Group B has Australia, Belarus and Belgium. Group C has USA, Spain and Slovakia whilst Group D has Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland. The last is my focus today with emphasis to Czech Republic and Germany. Their number one Barbora Kreijcikova took on Angelique Kerber in the second rubber with the host country already 1-0 from the first match.
As we saw at Roland Garros this year, Barbora is very astute at finding the corners. She wasted little time in breaking Kerber in the first set to race to a 3-0 lead. Not only that she can mix it up as well. check out 3-0 first point. Both players content to play the long rally waiting for the other to make a mistake. Angie was the first to blink with that short backhand slice drop shot. As the set went Kerber began to settle and became stronger on serve. Check out 3-1 adv Czech Republic. A good strong angled serve is a lefty’s strongest weapon against a right hander ,opening up the court for the one two punch. After a confident start backed by a noisy home crowd , Barbora started to make errors particularly on her forehand allowing Kerber to level scores at 4-4. Kerber missed glorious chance to win the set with two set points on Barbora’s racquet at 5-4 and 6-5 both at 30-40. Both times a good strong serve and forehand one-two punch bailed Czech Republic out. Set eventually went to a breaker with Barbora triumphing, a double fault at 6-5 handing her the set.
Second set was all Kerber. She went up a triple break with some exhilarating shot variation. Did you see the deft drop shot first point of the set at 15-30. Angie was attacking the Barbora serve with ease, watch 2-0(40-0). The serve wasn’t that bad right into the corner but Kerber was able to shift her weight to get the angle right on the forehand cross court shot. She would win the set to love ever so impressive considering she was playing the French Open Champion. That is what you want to see if you are playing against a raucous home crowd, a set win to love to quieten them down. But as expected the last set would not be that easy for Germany. Again the Barbora serve was there for the picking. Check out my point of the match at 1-1(30-0). Barbora seemed to have the point won by those backhand and forehand to the corners but Kerber moved around the court so well in this one got to the later shot. She would break in this game and hand it back to 3-3. The decisive moment of the match was at 3-3 . The unforced error at advantage Germany in the deuce game was mostly due to Barbora’s struggle in the long rally against a lefty particularly on the backhand side. With that win Germany leveled the scores in the tie at 1-1 but lost the doubles to hand the win to Czech Republic 2-1.