After their surprising success in Croatia, the German tennis women danced in circles. Even without Angelique Kerber, who is absent due to her pregnancy, and Andrea Petkovic, who has resigned, the much younger German team beat the favored hosts 3-1 in the playoff game of the Billie Jean King Cup in Rijeka and will thus continue to be one of the best in the world group next year tennis nations.
"The players played mega and all justified the trust," said a happy team boss Rainer Schüttler on Saturday.
"That could have fallen on our feet too"
But the ex-professional also played a large part in the success. Schüttler was right on the first day with the surprising nomination of Eva Lys as well as on Saturday when, unexpectedly for many, he preferred Anna-Lena Friedsam. "That could have fallen on our feet too, but it worked because the girls just did a great job," said Schüttler, who only gave out one motto for the rest of the evening. "Party!!!!"
Friedsam got the decisive third point on Saturday. The 28-year-old won against the only 16-year-old Petra Marcinko 6: 4, 6: 1 and thus celebrated a perfect individual debut for Germany. Jule Niemeier had previously beaten Ana Konjuh 6-2, 6-1 and put the German team in the lead. After the first day it was 1:1.
"I had better control over my nerves today"
The 20-year-old Lys surprisingly won in two sets against the Croatian number one Petra Martic and showed a very strong performance. Nevertheless, on the second day, Schüttler relied on the more experienced Friedsam. "We think it's the better matchup," said Schüttler, explaining the surprising change before the game. "The game against Martic drained Eva a lot of energy." And Friedsam justified the trust. Marcinko was able to keep up in the first set, but Friedsam was unstoppable in the second set.
Previously, Niemeier had celebrated her first individual victory for Germany. The German number one improved significantly one day after the clear defeat against Marcinko and converted their first match point after 1:21 hours. Konjuh was only short-term nominated for the Croatian number one Martic. "I had better control over my nerves today," said Niemeier, describing the main reason for her clear improvement in performance.