Sunday, 22 April 2018

Fed Cup - USA and France 1-1

Fed Cup semi finals have kicked off with Day One singles:

Germany v Czech Republic (3)

With four of the best players in the world on display, this was promising to be a top class day of tennis - however, one team was clearly here to claim early domination, and the Porsche Arena crowd was far from pleased with the results

Petra Kvitova defeated Julia Goerges 6-3 6-2

Czech Republic 1-0

Kvitova hit 15 winners, evenly spread over the court, and only committed 11 unforced errors in a tidy display, breaking the German serve four times from five opportunities.

Goerges had an unforced error count of 23, making Kvitova’s task a whole lot easier.

Karolina Pliskova defeated Angie Kerber 7-5 6-3

Czech Republic 2-0

The match stats show a close run race in terms of winners - 17 for Pliskova (15 from her magic forehand) and 15 for Kerber.

Unforced errors flowed from the attacking approach of the Czech player, her 28 double that coming from the racquet of Kerber.

It was the forced errors (a figure hardly ever raised in basic analysis) that tipped the scales In Pliskova’s favour.  Her power gave Kerber plenty of trouble, and on 24 occasions her reply failed to find the correct part of the court.

Pliskova was forced into mistake just a dozen times.  Her 15 aces didn’t hurt either.

France (4) v USA (2)

The odds were in favour of the away team winning at least one of the two singles matches on Day One, with two top twenty players named for battle.  France had one, but because of Garcia’s refusal to commit to her nation, it had to call on a player ranked far lower than the other three on court for the openers.

Sloane Stephens defeated Pauline Parmentier 7-6(3) 7-5

USA 1-0

This was expected to be a rather straightforward victory for the top ten Grand Slam title holder Stephens against 122th ranked Parmentier.  Pauline had been ranked as high as 40, but that was a decade ago.

Still the Frenchwoman pushed Stephens hard, and the two set win was not the walk in the park that the Americans may have assumed would occur.

Indeed the first set should have been won by France before the tie break. Parmentier and Stephens both achieved two service breaks, but Pauline had ten other chances, while Stephens just four in total.

The wasted set didn’t prevent Parmentier from competing just as well in set two, but it was the second serve of Stephens that signalled the difference.  No double faults and 82% of points won on the second delivery.

Sloane only gave up two break points, one which was converted.  This time she created seven of her own, and made the most of two, enough to win the set and the match.

Kiki Mladenovic defeated CoCo Vandeweghe 1-6 6-3 6-2

USA / France 1-1

A speedy start to this match by Vandeweghe, where she handed Mladenovic a lesson in the opening set, was given a sharp red light by the French former top ten star, battling to regain that status.

Kiki’s second and third sets contained much of her best work, and she never allowed Vandeweghe the opportunity to enter the match in a competitive sense.

For the match, CoCo hit 16 winners and Kiki 12, but the 38 unforced errors were devastating for the American, as only 23 flowed from the French racquet. Yes, Vandeweghe had the power to force Mladenovic into 22 other mistakes but it wasn’t enough to prevent the French team from levelling the tie at the end of Day One.

If Kiki can repeat her heroics against Stephens on Day Two, then France has a real chance of upsetting the second seeds, and it may mean the doubles becomes a live match.

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