Czech’s take big early lead

Sport360 - - Atp Finals News - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ✉ ed­i­to­

Barbora Strycova over­pow­ered Sofia Kenin and Ka­te­rina Sini­akova beat Ali­son Riske to hand the Czech Re­pub­lic a 2-0 lead over hold­ers the United States in the Fed Cup fi­nal in Prague on Satur­day.

Strycova, the world num­ber 33, came from a set down to beat the 52nd-ranked, 19-year-old Kenin 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and 43 min­utes. Sini­akova, the world num­ber 31, then saw off 63rdranked Riske 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).

The hosts are a win away from their sixth ti­tle in the last eight edi­tions and their 11th over­all, in­clud­ing five as the for­mer Cze­choslo­vakia. The United States have lifted the tro­phy a record 18 times.

The 32-year-old Strycova, who has an­nounced her re­tire­ment from Fed Cup duty af­ter the fi­nal, strug­gled with her serve through­out a ner­vous first set.

Strycova and Fed Cup debu­tant Kenin earned two breaks each, with the more ag­gres­sive US teenager taking the set in a tie-break.

But, pro­pelled by the sold-out O2 Arena with 14,500 fans, the four-time Fed Cup win­ner re­gained com­po­sure in the sec­ond to sweep aside the Rus­sian-born Kenin.

Strycova took a 5-2 lead in the third and de­spite giv­ing up two breaks, she took the set 6-4.

“For me it was a lot of emo­tions,” Strycova said. “I fought every ball and I’m so happy that I could win to­day in front of such a crowd.”

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