LIMOGES, FRANCE: It will be the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-offs for the eleventh consecutive year for Germany after a 3-1 victory over France in the World Group II first round tie in Limoges.
After taking a 2-0 lead after the opening day, Julia Goerges finished off the tie at the first time of asking with a 64 62 victory over Pauline Parmentier. France gained some consolation with victory in the dead doubles rubber but Amelie Mauresmo’s side will have to try and stave off relegation for the second year in a row in April’s World Group II play-offs.
This was a high quality match-up for a first round tie in the second tier of the Fed Cup. After a tough draw last year when Germany suffered relegation after consecutive defeats against the Czech Republic and Australia, France away on clay was not an easy prospect. For the visitors to clinch the match after the third rubber was not what many would have expected.
“I expected every single match to be close and it was,” said Germany captain Barbara Rittner. “Now it sounds easy but there was at least five very close sets. It could have gone the other way with a little change here and there but I am very pleased and happy that we won.”
For Parmentier, the world No. 76 ranked 57 places lower than Goerges, it was always going to be a tough ask to keep the tie alive. However, she made a decent fist of it in the early stages on the German’s serve, earning a couple of break points, one saved by Goerges with an ace down the T and other not taken when Parmentier netted a backhand slice.
Goerges began to find her rhythm and got the crucial break for 4-3 when Parmentier hit a forehand wide. A forehand winner down the line moments later sealed the first set 64 for the German.
After breaks were exchanged in the opening two games of the second set, Goerges hit a stunning forehand cross-court winner to break Parmentier once more for 2-1. The Frenchwoman’s frustrations began to show as she could not earn a further opportunity to break back due to some typical big serving from Goerges.
A further break from Goerges for 5-2 gave her the chance to serve out the tie which she duly did, Parmentier netting a backhand on match point. It was an accomplished performance from the 24-year-old, who impressively won 30 of 30 points on her second serve throughout the one hour and 26 minutes.
“Pauline is a very talented player and she started out pretty well,” said Goerges. “I got into tight moments on my service games where she had a lot of break points. I stayed somehow in the first set and didn’t give her an easy lead. And then she broke down a little bit and I took advantage of it.”
Under the new Fed Cup dead rubber policy, the match between Sabine Lisicki and Kristina Mladenovic was not played. France’s opportunity to try and finish the weekend on some sort of high was taken by Mladenovic and Alize Cornet in the doubles, beating Annika Beck and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 63 64.
It was not the start to her captaincy that Mauresmo would have hoped for this weekend. The former world No. 1 was honest in admitting that her team simply came up against better opponents.
“The experience and the level they play all long year at,” she said, on the difference between the sides. “On paper and on court we were not the best players throughout this weekend and it showed.”
To view match statistics click here: Live scores
Captain Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) - 10/02/2013
Captain Barbara Rittner (GER) - 10/02/2013
Julia Goerges (GER) - 10/02/2013