Switzerland edge Germany to reach Fed Cup semis

Leipzig (Germany), Feb 8 (IANS) Switzerland progressed into the semi-finals after Belinda Bencic and Martina Hingis won the deciding women’s doubles to edge the German tennis team 3-2 in the Fed Cup quarterfinals.

Bencic has large shares on Switzerland’s first progression into the semi-finals in 18 years as the World No.11 upset Australian Open champion and World No.2 Angelique Kerber 7-6, 6-3 before mastering the deciding doubles, against Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Andrea Petkovic, with Hingis 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 11 minutes on Sunday, reports Xinhua.

Bencic claimed her first victory of the day against Kerber. Both players exchanged breaks in an evenly balanced first set. As a result, the tie-break had to bring the decision in which Bencic reaped the first set 7-6(4) with a forehand winner after 51 minutes.

Kerber showed decline of strength and was unable to hold the pace with Bencic, who sealed the second set 6-3 to give Switzerland a 2-1 lead. “My battery was empty. Sometimes you just reach your physical limits,” Kerber said.

However, Germany bounced back and levelled the scores thanks to World No.39 Annika Beck, who beat Timea Bacsinszky, World No.15, 7-5, 6-4.

It was short-lived joy for the hosts as Switzerland grabbed the deciding point in the doubles with Hingis and Bencic, who proved too strong for Petkovic and Groenefeld (6-3, 6-2).

“The bottom line is that Martina Hingis has shown why she is World No.1 in doubles. I cannot blame anyone of my team,” Germany captain Barbara Rittner said.

With the result, Germany face their first play-off since 2013 to avoid relegation into the second World Group. Meanwhile, Switzerland improved their record against Germany to 2-4 to book their first ticket for the top-four in 18 years.

In the semi-finals, Switzerland encounter Czech Republic on April 16-17 to battle for the final ticket.

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