Australia win Fed Cup group
Australia beat New Zealand 3-0 in the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I final on Saturday as they continue their bid to rejoin the elite World Group of the women's team competition.sports Updated: Feb 07, 2009 14:47 IST
Australia beat New Zealand 3-0 in the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I final on Saturday as they continue their bid to rejoin the elite World Group of the women's team competition.
The only team able to call on three players in the world's top 100, the home side made a clean sweep of their four ties this week, winning all 12 matches they played.
Seven-times Fed Cup champions Australia will now contest the World Group II play-off in April. Victory there would see them elevated to World Group II in 2010, just one step away from a return to the top echelon of the competition.
Yet to beat Australia in the Fed Cup in five attempts, it was the second year in a row that New Zealand had been beaten in the Asia/Oceania Group I final, losing last year to Uzbekistan.
World number 43 Samantha Stosur clinched the tie with an straightforward 6-1, 6-4 win over Marina Erakovic, New Zealand's highest-ranked player at 57, in the second singles match and said the Australians believed they were capable of returning to the World Group.
"I think we have a great chance," she said.
"We have a good team put together, three of us in the top 100 and Rennae (Stubbs) in the doubles, and Casey (Dellacqua) and myself able to play in the doubles is a really good combination.
"The next tie is going to be tough, depending on where it is and who it is against, but I think we have a great chance."
Stubbs said she believed Stosur, Jelena Dokic and Dellacqua were all potentially top 20 players and were capable of taking Australia further in the competition.
The host nation made a perfect start when Australian Open quarter-finalist Dokic's 2009 resurgence continued with a straight-sets win over Dianne Hollands, 6-4, 6-4.
The un-ranked Hollands gave Dokic an early fright, grabbing a 3-0 lead in the first set and going a break up early in the second, but the Australian fought back.
"It is not always easy when you are supposed to win easy," Dokic said.
"She started well, she was just swinging and everything was going in.
"I didn't play well, but sometimes you have to win when you are not playing well.
"Mentally I was extremely good, I was down in both sets and the really key points and games in each sets I won them all and I have to be happy with that."
In the dead mixed doubles rubber, Dellacqua and Stubbs beat Kairangi Vano and Shona Lee 6-2, 6-2.
The relegation tie saw Taiwan beat India 3-0.
India will drop to Asia/Oceania Zone Group II next year, and be replaced in Group I by Kazakhstan.