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Qatar tribune


Rio de Janeiro

German duo Laura Siegemund and Tatjana Maria agreed that the atmosphere in their Billie Jean King Cup qualifier in Brazil was extra special as they took a 2-0 lead.

First, Siegemund surprisingly won 6-4, 6-2 over top Brazilian player Beatriz Haddad Maia before Maria defeated Laura Pigossi 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Almost 10,000 spectators turned out at the Arena Ginásio Ibirapuera in São Paulo and Haddad Maia in particular looked nervous. The current number 13 in the world made 31 unforced errors against the experienced Siegemund.

“I’ve been on the tour for a long time and it’s incredible to play in front of a crowd like this. It doesn’t happen every day,” said the 36-year-old German.

Maria, also 36, had more work to do against Pigossi and also benefitted from her opponent’s physical problems in the third set of a two-and-a-half-hour match.

German team boss Rainer Schüttler had only earmarked returnee Angelique Kerber for a possible doubles match on the clay given her long spell out of the sport.

Eight qualifiers are taking place across the globe with the winners progressing to November’s finals alongside 2023 champions Canada, 2023 runners-up Italy, host nation Spain and wild card Czech Republic.

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