Australia Fed Cup Team - History - 2005–2008: Asia/Oceania Group I Playoffs

2005–2008: Asia/Oceania Group I Playoffs

Australia started 2005 in the Asia/Oceania Group I playoffs, which was the first time Australia had been downgraded to the group and at the time its lowest ever Fed Cup start. They were drawn in a pool with New Zealand, Korea and Chinese Taipei. The team competing in the Asia/Oceania playoff featured top 40 singles and doubles player Samantha Stosur, Evie Dominikovic, Sophie Ferguson and Bryanne Stewart. Their first tie was against New Zealand. Dominikovic and Stosur both cruised to straight set wins and then Dominikovic and Stewart combined together to win the doubles despite losing the first set ion a tie-break. This meant Australia won the tie 3-0. Australia again cruised through the second tie Chinese Taipei with Ferguson and Stosur both recording easy straight set wins. Stewart and Stosur combined in doubles to close out the tie winning 6-1, 6-3. Australia then took on the Korea Republic in their last pool match. Dominikovic opened the tie with a win in the oppening rubber in three sets 6-0, 4-6, 6-3. Stosur then ensured Australia would finish at the top of the pool, posting a 6-3, 7-5 win in the second rubber. However, Ferguson and Stewart lost in two tight sets in the doubles meaning Australia could not clean sweep all ties and win them all 3-0. Australia then took on the winner of the other pool China, to see who would make it into the world group two playoff. Australia were easily defeated by the Chinese with Stosur and Dominikovic losing there matches in straight sets. This meant Australia will have to compete in the Asia/Oceania Group I Playoffs again in 2006.

In 2006 Australia was in the Asia/Oceania Group I Playoffs and was placed in a pool with Uzbekistan and Korea. Competing for Australia was Samantha Stosur, Nicole Pratt, Casey Dellacqua who was on her debut in Fed Cup and doubles specialist Rennae Stubbs. Their first tie was against Uzbekistan. Stosur and Pratt recorded straight set wins. Which meant Australia won the tie. The doubles was not played. In their next tie against Korea Repubulic, Pratt opened with a win for Austrlia despite losing the opening set. Stosur then won her match in straight sets. Stosur and Stubbs won the doubles rubber in straight sets. Australia then faced India in the playoff to reach the World Group II playoff. Dellacqua opened the tie for her first Fed Cup match but was beaten in straight sets putting Australia down 0-1. Stosur stepped up to win the second rubber over Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-2. Stosur and Stubbs then won their doubles rubber 7-6(4), 6-2. Australa then took on Switzerland in Switzerland to try and get a place in the World Group II in 2007 and not fall back to the Asia/Ocenia I Zonal Group. The team consisted of Samantha Stosur, Nicole Pratt, Alicia Molik and Rennae Stubbs. Australia dominated the tie with Stosur and pratt winning the opening singles rubbers on day one in straight sets. Stosur then gave Australia the tie with another straight sets singles win. Molik then won the 4th rubber in three sets. They finished off the tie with Stosur and Molik winning the doubles rubber 6-1, 6-2.

In 2007, Australia was placed in the World Group II. They had to play austria for a spot in the World Group Playoff. Copeting for Australia was Samantha Stosur, Nicole Pratt, Alicia Molik and Rennae Stubbs. Stosur and Molik competed in singles ofr Australia but lost all four singles rubbers meaning we would have to compete in the World Group II Playoff later in the year. Stosur and Stubbs did win the doubles rubber in straight sets but ultimately lost to Austria 1-4. In the World Group II playoff Australia faced Ukraine. Australia picked the same team as earlier in the year except choosing Casey Dellacqua over the sick Samantha Stosur. Molik and Pratt lost the first three singles rubbers to the Bondarenko sisters meaning Australia lost the tie. Dellacqua did win the 4th singles match becoming her first Fed Cup win. Molik and Stubbs won the first set in the doubles but lost the match. Austrlia overall losing the tie 1-4. As a result, Australia was relegated to Asia/Oceania Group I.

In 2008, playing in the Asia/Oceania Group I, Australia was drawn in a pool with New Zealand, India and Indonesia. Playing for Australia was Nicole Pratt, Alicia Molik, Rennae Stubbs and Casey Dellacqua who was coming off a huge run to the fourth round of the 2008 Australian Open including a defeat of former world number one Amélie Mauresmo. Australia played New Zealand first. Dellacqua was stuuned in the first set 4-6 against Sacha Jones but recovered to lead 4-6, 6-4, 4-1 when Jones had to retire. Another retirement came in the next rubber when Molik retired at 6-6 in the first set meaning te doubes would decide the tie. Stubbs and Dellacqua stepped up and took the doubles rubber in straight sets 7-5, 6-2. Jessica Moore then had to fill in for Pratt who pulled out of the ties and shortly after retired from tennis. With Alicia Molik not being able to paly due to injury, the team was down to just Dellacqua, doubles specialist Stubbs and the young Moore who hadn't played in fed cup before. Even with this, Austrlai was expected to beat Indonesia but with Moore losing her first round match 3-6, 4-6 it came down to Dellacqua to keep Australia in the tie, and to keep their chance of making it to the World Group II Play Off. Despite Dellacqua's huge run of form, she was stunned 6-7(5), 6-7(5)to a player not even ranked inside the top 200. Dellacqua and Stubbs did win the doubles 6-2, 6-1 meaning even though Australia lost the tie overall, they had a small chance of winning their pool. Australia had to beat India 3-0. This didn't look like happening when Moore lost the first set 3-6 in the opening rubber. But Moore came storming back to take the rubber 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Dellacqua won the second singles rubber 6-3, 7-5. Dellacqua and Stubbs combined to win the doubles rubber 7-6(2), 6-0. It came down to the wire between Australia and New Zealand to see who would finish first in the pool. Despite Australia defeating New Zealand in there tie, New Zealand scraped though to the final. This was a new low for the Austrlian team, not moving out of the Asia/ Oceania Zonal Group for the first time.

Read more about this topic:  Australia Fed Cup Team, History

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