Australian captain Alicia Molik believes she has the team to reach the nation’s first Fed Cup decider since Liz Smylie, Wendy Turnbull and Anne Minter lost the 1984 decider to Czechoslovakia, with Sam Stosur to lead off the semi-final against Germany in Brisbane on Saturday.
Stosur will attempt a reprise of her 2012 defeat of German No.2 Andrea Petkovic in the 2012 qualifying tie on clay in Stuttgart when the hardcourt fixture begins on Pat Rafter Arena. Casey Dellaqua will then play world No.7 Angelique Kerber in the second match, with the reverse singles, and doubles scheduled for Sunday.
“I think we can win,” said Molik, who predictably nominated three-time grand slam finalists Dellaqua and Ash Barty as her combination to play Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the fifth rubber.
“As per the last time Australia played Germany, it will be very clear in the Germans’ minds that Sam had the edge, so I think as an opponent it’s always difficult going into a match knowing that you lost the last encounter, so I’m hoping that they remember those matches very clearly.
“And if you look at matches won over the last four or five months, I think Casey would almost be leading the charge out of both teams with the amount of matches that she’s been able to put together, both through qualifying, main draw, and she had a big summer, played a lot of challengers, a lot of matches, so you can’t buy that time on the match court and that’s something that I’ll make sure that I remind Casey of tomorrow.
“But we’ve got the team to win. No doubt about that.”
Stosur, ranked 19th after a lean start to the season, said the Australians did not feel burdened by the weight of history, despite having not won the female equivalent of the higher-profile Davis Cup since Evonne Goolagong Cawley inspired a 2-1 defeat of the US in 1974.
“I don’t think that’s going to be a crucial factor that’s going to make us any more nervous or feel more pressure,” said Stosur, the former US Open champion. “Obviously we would love to break that drought, but we’re going to go out there and play just as we would if we were in the final last year. So it’s not going to, I don’t think, determine how good or bad we do, but of course we would like to get through to that final.”