Czechs edge France to re­tain Fed Cup ti­tle

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

KAROLINA Pliskova and Barbora Strycova clinched the Czech Repub­lic’s fifth Fed Cup ti­tle in six years on Novem­ber 13, beat­ing France in the de­cid­ing dou­bles rub­ber in Stras­bourg.

With the se­ries level at 2-2, US Open fi­nal­ist Pliskova teamed up with Strycova to de­feat French Open dou­bles cham­pi­ons Caro­line Gar­cia and Kristina Mlade­n­ovic 7-5, 7-5 and pro­long the Czechs’ reign.

It was their third tri­umph in suc­ces­sion and 10th over­all, with only the United States boast­ing more ti­tles with 17.

“Un­be­liev­able. We don’t have words yet, we are go­ing to cel­e­brate. The feel­ing is some­thing so spe­cial, even if it’s our fifth ti­tle. It’s really un­be­liev­able,” said Strycova, a mem­ber of the ti­tle-win­ning teams in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

France had grabbed a 2-1 lead ear­lier in the day after Gar­cia moved them within reach of a first Fed Cup crown since 2003 fol­low­ing a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over sixth-ranked Pliskova.

But Strycova, drafted in to re­place in­jured two-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion Pe­tra Kvi­tova by Czech cap­tain Petr Pala, kept their hopes alive by over­com­ing Al­ize Cor­net 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) to force a fifth and fi­nal rub­ber.

Mlade­n­ovic sat out the re­verse sin­gles com­plain­ing of cramp after los­ing a four-hour marathon to Pliskova in the open­ing match on Novem­ber 13, but re­turned to part­ner with Gar­cia in the dou­bles.

But she dropped serve at 5-all in the first set after net­ting a bruis­ing fore­hand from Pliskova and the Czechs surged in front.

Pliskova and Strycova then broke again to move 3-2 ahead in the sec­ond, but the French pair re­sponded to draw level at 4-all.

Mlade­n­ovic’s serve came un­stuck once more though when Pliskova re­acted su­perbly to dig out a vol­ley and con­vert the de­ci­sive break point for a 6-5 lead as the Czech Repub­lic ex­tended their re­cent dom­i­na­tion.

France had been seek­ing to win a third crown – their last came un­der with a 4-1 tri­umph over the United States 13 years ago. –

‘Un­be­liev­able ... The feel­ing is some­thing so spe­cial, even if it’s our fifth ti­tle. It’s really un­be­liev­able.’

Barbora Strycova Czech ten­nis player

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