There was an upset on the clay courts of Stuttgart for the Fed Cup as Julia Goerges helped Germany to earn a valuable point by defeating Elina Svitolina in three tough sets, lessening the chances of letting the away team prevail in this tie.
Svitolina converts her chances
Serving to start the match, Goerges seemed a little shaky on her groundstrokes as she saw Svitolina earning a break point in the opening game, having the worst possible start. The Ukrainian then wasted the opportunity to take the early lead as she shanked an easy backhand return off a second serve right into the net, allowing Goerges to narrowly hold onto her opening service game eventually.
This tight service hold seemed to give her the momentum as Svitolina continued to look sluggish in the opening stages, gifting the German two break points. However, similar to the former top 10 player, Goerges threw away both break points with unforced errors, including a missed open volley on the second. With these gifted opportunities wasted, Svitolina managed to secure her first game of the afternoon.
Goerges seemed to be the better player of the afternoon, which managed to be reflected on the scoreboard as she took the first break of serve to take an early 3-1 lead. Having the chance to consolidate the break, Goerges comfortably went up 30-0 lead and looked poised to extend her lead, but an incredible three double faults caused her to lose her focus and get broken straight back, with Svitolina back on serve all of a sudden.
After several service holds which followed, Svitolina took the most crucial break of serve in the ninth game as Goerges threw in yet another double fault, her fifth of the first set alone. Serving for the first set, Svitolina did not disappoint as she earned a comfortable hold of service, stealing the first set within just 45 minutes.
Goerges fights back
An encouraging start to the second set saw Goerges show some nerves of steel as she managed to carve a tough service hold to get off to a positive start. Saving a game point in the process, Goerges converted on her third break point in the second game as her forehand sliced return deep into the backcourt often troubled Svitolina, taking the early lead in the set, looking to force a decider. What followed up was certainly unexpected as Goerges rattled off her ninth consecutive point to earn a huge 4-0 lead all of a sudden.
However, Svitolina got one of the breaks straight back as she lessened the deficit with some inconsistent serving from the German, but it was just not meant to be after Goerges regained the double break lead, prevailing in a lengthy 16-points game to be just a game away from sending the match into a deciding set. The home crowd roared with cheers as the former world number 15 comfortably served out the set to have a chance of creating an upset.
Goerges seals the victory
The final set was a drastic change from the one-sided second set, with Svitolina regaining her mark and looking more solid on her serve than ever. With both players being very consistent and focused, a break of serve looked to be something rare in this deciding set. After six consecutive easy service holds by both players which saw the returner win not more than one point in those games, the first breakthrough finally came as Svitolina played a very loose game which Goerges took advantage of, taking the hard-earned lead in the final set and looked on course for the victory.
However, Goerges had a tough time trying to follow it up as she faced three break points in the lengthy and physically-draining 20-points game but eventually prevailed as her strong first serves saved her at the crucial moments, consolidating the break the toughest way possible to be just a game away from the win. The German held her nerves and successfully served out the match in the tenth game, sealing the best possible start for Germany and earning the upset in a little over 2 hours.