Australia’s Fed Cup humiliation is complete, with Casey Dellacqua and Jarmila Gajdosova’s reverse singles defeats condemning them to a shock World Group playoff loss to the Netherlands.
Gajdosova crumbled 6-0 5-7 5-7 to lowly ranked Arantxa Rus, handing the Dutch an unassailable 3-1 lead in the tie and knocking Australia out of the World Group for the first time since 2012.
It is the Dutch’s seventh consecutive victorious tie and ends a World Group exile which dates back to 1998.
On paper, it appeared a major mismatch, with a strong Australian team boasting three players ranked in the world’s top 50 compared to world No.86 Kiki Bertens, who is on a run of four consecutive first-round defeats on the WTA Tour, being the sole Dutch representative in the top 100.
Once again, Bertens wowed the home fans at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in upsetting a more-fancied rival – she crushed world No.44 Casey Dellacqua 6-2 6-3 on Sunday, having dispatched Gajdosova with similar ease the previous day.
Dellacqua was again filling in for Sam Stosur, still sidelined with an achilles complaint.
And for the second day running, it looked like world No.217 Rus was going to be the weak link for the home side, before she stormed home for a remarkable comeback victory.
Rus was steamrolled 6-0 in the first set, and had no answers to Gajdosova’s powerful groundstrokes.
The 27-year-old Gajdosova was up a break in the second and in control before her game went to pieces and she ended a miserable weekend with a second defeat.
Gajdosova managed to save three match points, two on Rus’ serve, but double-faulted on the fourth to send the Dutch back to the World Group.
It sparked wild scenes as her teammates ran onto the court to celebrate with the 24-year-old winner, while Australia were left to contemplate being dumped back to the second-tier World Group II in 2016.