Germany into Fed Cup final as Kerber downs Stosur
Germany's Angelique Kerber hits a return against Australia's Sam Stosur in their Fed Cup semi-final at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane on April 20, 2014 - by Patrick Hamilton
World number seven Kerber fought back from dropping the opening set to beat former US Open champion Stosur 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in two hours 14 minutes to give Germany an unassailable 3-0 lead over Australia.
The Australian pair of Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty prevented a wipe-out when they claimed the "dead" doubles rubber 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 10-2 over Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld for the tie to finish 3-1.
Germany will play either the Czech Republic or Italy in the final.
Left-hander Kerber showed great resilience to bounce back in the pivotal singles rubber, fighting off the 19th-ranked Stosur to take victory and put Germany into this year's final.
Germany last won the competition in 1992 when Steffi Graf and Anke Huber starred in the team which defeated Spain.
The Germans took a firm grip on the semi-final, winning Saturday's opening two singles rubbers in the best-of-five match tie.
"It’s a very special moment for me and the whole team," Kerber said.
"It feels great. I played a good match but it was a tough one because Sam was playing also very tough and I have never beaten her before.
"It just means a lot."
It was Kerber's first win in three encounters against Stosur.
"I knew I had to play my best tennis to beat Sam because she is a Grand Slam champion," Kerber said.
"After the first set I was just thinking about playing for the team and I was fighting until the last point.
"I was a little bit nervous on the last points but now I'm just happy.
"After 1992 we are now in the final and it means a lot for Germany and it's an honour for all of us."
Kerber reeled off seven consecutive games to lead 1-0 in the third set when Stosur double faulted on break point.
The were breaks in next two games but it was the third game, which lasted 15 draining minutes when Stosur was broken, that made a lasting impact.
Kerber opened a 5-2 lead and served for the match but Stosur kept the match alive for two more games.
Serving for the tie for the second time Kerber made no mistake with an ace on match point.
"It was overall reasonably disappointing, especially when you don’t get through," Stosur said.
"I don’t know if I can fight any harder than I did in that match."
Dellacqua's singles match with Andrea Petkovic was not played.