Samantha Stosur has hauled Australia back into the Federation Cup top-flight with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Germany's Andrea Petkovic in Stuttgart.
Stosur backed up her opening day straight-sets win over world number 14 Angelique Kerber to dismiss the returning Petkovic in one hour and 14 minutes.
The win handed Australia an unbeatable 3-0 advantage in the tie and secured the nation a berth in the elite eight-nation World Group next year.
Fed Cup captain David Taylor said Australia should in the top tier of the competition with players of the calibre of Stosur and Jarmila Gajdosova at their disposal.
"We have had a good Fed Cup team the past few years but we have not really had all our players in form at the same time," Taylor said.
"With the players we have got, I think Australia belongs in the World Group."
Stosur entered the weekend with a 1-5 record this year against top-20 players following a mixed start to 2012.
However the combination of the European spring and red dirt under her feet again proved agreeable as the 2010 French Open finalist produced two impressive wins before Roland Garros next month.
Following Gajdosova's shock win over Julia Goerges on the opening day, the Germans decided to replace Goerges with world number 11 Petkovic on Sunday.
It was a gamble for the Europeans considering that Petkovic had not played a match for three months because of back stress fractures - and the home girl was not able to cope with Stosur's game in front of a parochial German crowd.
Australia were relegated to the second tier of the Fed Cup last year following a surprise home loss to the Ukraine.
Stosur, a long-time servant for the national team with a 30-9 career record, opted to skip that tie to concentrate on her preparations for last year's French Open.
She had looked in great touch in Paris in 2011 before an inexplicable third-round exit at the hands of Gisela Dulko.
This time the tie fit in perfectly with Stosur's program - she had intended to be in Stuttgart anyway for next week's WTA event.
Following Stuttgart, Stosur will fine-tune her game for Roland Garros at key lead-up tournaments in Madrid and Rome.
The French Open starts on May 27.
AAPTags: sport, tennis, australia, germany First posted April 22, 2012 21:34:23