Bucharest (AFP) – Andrea Petkovic battled back from surviving two match points against her to give Germany an unassailable 3-1 lead over Romania in the Fed Cup World Group play-off on Sunday.
The 28-year-old showed an iron will after being demolished in the first set, then held her nerve to win the second-set tie-breaker and claim a 0-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 win over Monica Niculescu.
After Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber put the Germans 2-1 up by beating Simona Halep, ranked sixth in the world, in Sunday’s opening singles rubber, Petkovic finished the job.
“With these emotions and the support of this team, anything is possible,” said an exhausted Petkovic, who needed just over two and a half hours to seal her win.
It was Petkovic’s second long match in the space of 24 hours and her win leaves Sunday’s final doubles tie as a dead rubber.
It means Germany keep their place in the Fed Cup’s top tier after beating the hosts in front of a sell-out crowd of 7,500 at the Sala Polivalenta Arena in Cluj-Napoca.
Kerber says she is back to her best after a dip in form following her Melbourne triumph in January.
“I have found my rhythm again and I am almost at 100 percent,” she said, having needed just 67 minutes to blast her way past Halep 6-2, 6-2.
It had finished all square on Saturday as Halep needed just under three hours to secure her 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 win over Petkovic after Kerber had beaten Irina-Camelia Begu.
Germany were in the play-off after their 3-2 defeat at home to Switzerland in February.
Romania are now relegated to the World Group II for 2017 following their second defeat this year after losing 3-2 to the Czech Republic in February.