Relegated: Germany Blanks U.S. Fed Cuppers

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112266297Germany swept the U.S. 5-0 in the Fed Cup World Group P

layoff in Stuttgart, advancing to the World Group. Andrea Petkovic defeated Melanie Oudin in straight sets to put Germany ahead 3-0 and clinch the tie in the opening match on Sunday. With the loss, the Americans are relegated to World Group II and will be unable to compete for the title for the first time in the history of the competition.

“Tough weekend,” said U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “We’ve got to give a lot of credit to the entire German team. They really played great throughout the weekend from start to finish. They were tough and played extremely well with a lot of confidence. We’re disappointed because we go into every tie with high expectations, even when we’re the underdog. We did the best we could, and fought for every point.”

The draw for the 2012 World Group II — which will feature the four nations that lost in the ’11 World Group Playoffs and the four winners from the ‘12 World Group II Playoffs — will take place this summer. The nations likely to be seeded include the U.S., Australia, France and the Slovak Republic. Projected unseeded nations are Belarus, Switzerland, Slovenia and the winner of the Japan vs. Argentina match World Group II Playoff that was postponed until July due to the earthquake in Japan.

“Obviously, it’s tough since the U.S. is out of the World Group for the first time in history,” added Fernandez. “But at the same time, this young team has been to the Fed Cup Finals, which is unbelievable. So it makes you appreciate that kind of success, and also makes you realize that there’s still a lot of work to be done. It wasn’t the pressure of the tie and trying to stay in the world group, we just came up against a better team.”

“I knew if I lost this match our team would go down to World Group II, and that was a little weight on my shoulders knowing that,” said Oudin of her loss to Petkovic. “But I try not to think about it.”

Venus Williams accompanied the team to Stuttgart in order to remain eligible to play the London Olympics, but was unable to participate due to a hip injury.

Results:

Andrea Petkovic (GER) def. Christina McHale (U.S.) 6-3, 6-4

Julia Goerges (GER) def. Melanie Oudin (U.S.) 6-2, 7-6(5)

Andrea Petkovic (GER) def. Melanie Oudin (U.S.) 6-2, 6-3

Julia Goerges (GER) def. Christina McHale (U.S.) 6-3, 6-4

Anna-Lena Groenfeld/Sibine Lisicki (GER) def. Liezel Huber/Vania King (U.S.) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1