February 07, 2016
Angelique Kerber of Germany, right, sits besides German team captain Barbara Rittner, left, during her match against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland at the Fed Cup World Group first round tennis match between Germany and Switzerland at the Leipzig Fair in
Jens Meyer

LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) Belinda Bencic and Australian Open doubles champion Martina Hingis sent Switzerland to the Fed Cup semifinals with a 3-2 win over Germany on Sunday.

The 18-year-old Bencic and Hingis, who won with Sania Mirza in Melbourne, converted four of their five break points to defeat Andrea Petkovic and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 6-2 in the deciding doubles match.

Bencic paid tribute to her 35-year-old doubles partner.

''She did all the great volleys and all the doubles stuff. I was just happy I could play with her. I'm not a doubles specialist,'' said the Swiss No. 1, who upset Australian Open singles champion Angelique Kerber 7-6 (4), 6-3 to give Switzerland a 2-1 lead earlier Sunday.

Bencic, ranked 11th, came from 1-4 down to win the first set tiebreaker and needed just one match point to seal the win in 1 hour, 32 minutes. She had beaten Petkovic 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday, when Kerber topped Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-3.

Annika Beck pulled Germany level at 2-2 and ensured the first-round contest would be decided by the doubles match when she defeated Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-4 in her Fed Cup debut.

No. 2-ranked Kerber appeared out of sorts, perhaps weary just eight days after claiming her first Grand Slam title in a three-set victory over Serena Williams in Melbourne.

''I was a little bit tired, especially at the end of the first set, but I was trying to take all my energy from the crowd and the team. But Belinda played very solid to the end, and well done to her,'' Kerber said. ''Today I gave all I had left.''

Switzerland will face the Czech Republic in the semifinals on Apr. 16 and 17.

''I have no idea where we can go but I'm excited to find out,'' Switzerland captain Heinz Guenthardt said. ''Martina is one of the best doubles players in the world right now and Belinda is very solid. This surface is good for Belinda but we knew she had to play at the top of her game and she did.''

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