Billie Jean King Cup: Angelique Kerber and Laura Siegemund lose – Germany is threatened with bankruptcy in Kazakhstan

Angelique Kerber fought in vain, Laura Siegemund had no chance – and so captain Rainer Schüttler had only one hope for a small tennis miracle.

And this is not particularly important in the German team. “It won’t be easy, now we have to win all three matches,” said the ex-professional after the unsuccessful first day of the difficult tour in Nur-Sultan.

With the score 0-2 against the Kazakhs on Saturday (as of 10:00 CET), the German team needs a huge boost and two surprises to still advance to the Billie Jean King Cup final tournament.

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Play-offs are more likely – and there is a risk of falling to the second division in November.

Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam winner, missed the chance for a better starting position. After a strong start, she lost 6:3, 3:6, 2:6 to variable Julija Putinzewa on the unloved clay court.

Although she struggled with defeat, after a Corona break in preparation and a weak spring, Kerber is still far from her best form.

Siegemund: Rybakina more than one size too big

This also applies to Laura Siegemund, who lacks match training after knee surgery. Confidence is back after two doubles titles, but Kazakh star Elena Rybakina was more than a size too big at 6-0, 6-1. The world ranking-19. is also the big favorite against Kerber on Saturday morning and can already decide the duel.

“The first game on the sand is never easy for me,” said Kerber, who was “disappointed” but tried to take “the positive” with her: “I gave it my all and the sand is not my favorite surface.”

She hopes to feel “better and more comfortable” facing Rybakina. “It will be a completely different match, she plays very fast and has a good serve.”

Kerber before the premiere against Rybakina

Rybakina has already reached one final this season, while Kerber has picked up two wins. It will be the first duel between the rising Kazakh and the experienced player from Kiel – and although Kerber is two places ahead of her opponent, twelve years her junior, in the world rankings, the roles are clearly shared.

Siegemund certified Rybakina “top 10”, she “played incredibly well and ran over me. If she runs away from the front, she plays better and better.”

Kerber must prevent this, otherwise Saturday’s second singles and doubles final will no longer have any sporting value. And instead of the targeted final tournament, it’s autumn: the relegation battle.

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