Dutch Back in Fed Cup Contention
DEN BOSCH, Netherlands (AP) _ Inspired by a fanatical 8,000-strong crowd, Dutch number one Brenda Schultz-McCarthy upset France’s Mary Pierce 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 Sunday to put the Dutch back in contention in the Fed Cup final.
The Dutch trail 2-1 after three of the final’s five matches with a singles and a doubles match still to play.
France put themselves in a commanding position Saturday, taking the final’s first two matches with victories from Pierce and Sandrine Testud.
Schultz-McCarthy had to come from behind to beat the higher-ranked Frenchwoman.
Playing poised and controlled tennis, Pierce took the first set with a single service break in the ninth game.
But with the increasingly noisy crowd lifting her, and her powerful service beginning to find its range, Schultz-McCarthy battled back in a seesaw second set, which she won 6-3, breaking Pierce twice and losing her serve once.
World number eight Pierce had beaten the big-serving Dutchwoman, ranked 15, in five of their six meetings before Sunday.
Pierce made the stronger start to the third set, continually attacking Schultz-McCarthy’s serve and holding her own service games comfortably, but was unable to force a break.
And in the ninth game, Schultz-McCarthy recovered from 0-40, hitting a string of winners to break Pierce and take a 5-4 lead.
Schultz-McCarthy then held her service despite three deuces to close out the match.
The Dutch downed the United States and the Czech Republic on their way to the final, but, following Saturday’s defeats, looked to have ran out of momentum.
France defeated Japan and Belgium to reach Den Bosch.