The long wait for another Fed Cup title looks set to last at least another year for Australia after Germany cruised to a 2-0 lead in their semi-final in Brisbane on Saturday.
Australia’s No.2 Casey Dellacqua was blown away 6-1 6-0 in 50 minutes by world No.7 Angelique Kerber in the second singles rubber at Pat Rafter Arena.
Former US Open champion Sam Stosur suffered an upset 6-1 7-6 (9-7) 101-minute loss to former world No.9 Andrea Petkovic in the opener.
Aiming to make their first Fed Cup final in 21 years and break a 40-year title drought, Australia are now fighting to stay alive before Sunday’s reverse singles and doubles rubbers.
World No.19 Stosur had hoped to provide a dream start for Australia after inspiring their 3-2 upset over Germany the last time they played, in Stuttgart, in 2012.
Instead, Stosur added to her dusty 2014 form.
The former world No.4 has only made it past the third round at one tournament this year and again appeared to buckle early under the weight of expectation on a home court.
While world No.28 Petkovic claimed her opponent faced a “tougher mental state” than her under the local spotlight, Stosur denied she succumbed to pressure on Saturday.
“I wasn’t overly nervous. I thought she came out hitting the ball very clean and deep – that puts you on the backfoot a little bit,” she said.
“At least I was able to fight back after a lopsided first set, but at the end of the day that doesn’t really count for much.”
Stosur led 5-3 in the second set before Petkovic forced a tiebreaker and converted her fourth match point.
World No.53 Dellacqua had backed herself to cause an upset after toppling three top 20 players this year, but it was all one-way traffic against a clinical Kerber.
The left-hander got on the board only when she broke Kerber.