First two weeks of february 2014 were all about tennis. Both Slovak Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams hosted their oponents in Bratislava. The women’s Fed Cup World Group 1 tie against Germany was certainly more prestigious one. Both teams had some amazing players in their line-ups. Team Slovakia consisted of 2014 Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova, two-times Fed Cup Heart Award winner Daniela Hantuchova, Magdalena Rybarikova and Jana Cepelova. The Germans arrived with World No. 9 Angelique Kerber, former Top 10 member Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges and doubles specialist Anna-Lena Groenefeld. The Germans were supposed to be even stronger, but Wimbledon 2013 finalist Sabine Lisicki was not able to play due to injury.
Although the Germans won the tie 3:1, the matches were very close. In the opening match, Dominika Cibulkova won the first set against Andrea Petkovic 6:2. In second set tie-break, Dominika was trailing 1:6, managed to come back and lead 7:6, but Petkovic managed to win both tie-break and the match. Daniela Hantuchova then lost her match to German No. 1 Angelique Kerber in two sets. The first set was decided in tie-break and Angelique Kerber needed 11 points to secure the first set.
The Sunday’s battle of the leaders was again decided in tie-break. Angelique Kerber managed to win against Dominika Cibulkova 6:3, 7:6 and the German team advanced to the Fed Cup World Group 1 Semifinals. In the last match of the tie, Magdalena Rybarikova and Jana Cepelova secured the only Slovak point after a three set victory over Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld. Luck was certainly on the German side this time, maybe because they played like a team, did their pre-match ritual like a team and celebrated the victory like a team.
Andrea Petkovic defeated Dominika Cibulkova 2:6, 7:6, 6:2
Angelique Kerber defeated Daniela Hantuchova 7:6, 6:1
Angelique Kerber defeated Dominika Cibulkova 6:3, 7:6
Magdalena Rybarikova, Jana Cepelova defeated Julia Goerges, Anna-Lena Groenefeld 4:6, 6:3, 10:7
Some of my favorite photos from the weekend are below (click on the photo to see slightly larger version).