Niemeier and Friedsam star as Germany stun Brazil to reach Finals15/04/2023 00:00
Anna-Lena Friedsam revelled in her “golden day” after brushing aside Brazil’s Laura Pigossi and securing the victory which propelled Germany to the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals
Anna-Lena Friedsam revelled in her “golden day” after brushing aside Brazil’s Laura Pigossi and securing the victory which propelled Germany to the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals.
Friedsam was in spellbinding form and comfortably dispatched Pigossi 6-1 6-0 to post only her second singles victory in national team colours. In truth, it could not have come at a more opportune moment.
Germany had forced their way back into contention in the tie the previous evening when Tatjana Maria staged an impressive comeback to defeat Pigossi and haul her nation level at 1-1. This was just the chink that Rainer Schuettler’s outfit required and they never looked back.
Ahead of Friedsam’s fireworks, Jule Niemeier pulled off a stunning victory over world No. 14 Beatrix Haddad Maia – just the second win against a Top 20 player in her career – to edge Germany ahead. Niemeier’s stellar performance paved the way for Friedam’s heroics.
“It was really a golden day for me – I played unbelievably well," said Friedsam. “Before Jule played, I didn’t know whether I was going to play for 2-2 or 3-1 and I was just so happy that she won so I could play a little more relaxed. I am super happy with my performance.
“At times there was a poker face, but it all came together today. The energy of the team gave me energy on the court and pumped me up more. We don’t have this often, so I really tried to enjoy it.
“From the first point to last, I kept saying, ‘keep pushing, keep playing your best tennis’ and it worked. Yesterday [during her defeat to Haddad Maia], I played good tennis but maybe I was a little passive. Today, I played my best tennis.”
While Friedsam administered the knockout blow for Germany, the foundation on day two was set by Niemeier and her stunning showing to outmanoeuvre Haddad Maia 7-6(3) 3-6 6-2 on the clay of Stuttgart's Porsche Arena.
It was a deliberate plan for Friedsam – and not Maria – to face Haddad Maia in the opening singles match of the tie, and then Niemeier to draw swords with her on day two. It was a tactic that paid a rich dividend.
“We talked about it as a team and, of course, it made sense,” said Niemeier. “We didn’t want Tatjana to play against Haddad Maia so there was no other choice than to play with Anna-Lena and Tatjana yesterday. It made sense and it paid off.
“I am super happy and super proud of myself – and all the girls. I feel a bit overwhelmed to be honest. It has not been the best start for me this year, but I am happy and proud of my performance today.”
All eyes now turn to November’s Finals when two-time champions Germany will take their place alongside the best teams on the planet and bid to top the women’s world cup of tennis podium. Schuettler certainly has designs on his team making something of a splash.
“We are in the wrong sport if we didn’t consider ourselves contenders,” he said. “We will go to the Finals with goals, and we dream, which is why we play this sport. We will go there to win every tie. But I don’t look that far ahead, I just want to win my next tie.
“It is certainly nice to be in the Finals again, however. We are a dangerous team. They win together, lose together and fight together.”