Ro­ma­nia up­sets Czechs in Fed Cup, Aus­tralia beats United States

The Day - - SPORTS -

Ro­ma­nia up­set de­fend­ing cham­pion Czech Repub­lic 3-2 to ad­vance to the semi­fi­nals of the Fed Cup on Sun­day, along with France, Be­larus and Aus­tralia.

Ro­ma­nia reached the semi­fi­nals for the first time af­ter its first vic­tory against the Czechs, who won six ti­tles in the last eight years.

Irina-Camelia Begu and Mon­ica Niculescu teamed up to clinch the best-of-five con­test with a 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 win over Czech pair Ka­te­rina Sini­akova and Barbora Kre­j­cikova in dou­bles.

Ro­ma­nia took a 2-1 lead on an in­door hard-court in Os­trava af­ter Si­mona Halep beat Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in a re­verse sin­gles fea­tur­ing two for­mer top-ranked play­ers. Halep im­proved her record against Pliskova to 7-2 to put Ro­ma­nia one win from ad­vanc­ing.

Sini­akova, the star of last year's fi­nal vic­tory against the United States, made it 2-2 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Mi­haela Burzanescu, leav­ing the re­sult hing­ing on the dou­bles.

It was a sim­i­lar fin­ish in Aus­tralia's 3-2 win over the U.S. in North Carolina, with Ash Barty and Priscilla Hon beat­ing Danielle Collins and Ni­cole Melichar 6-4, 7-5 in the de­cid­ing dou­bles.

Ear­lier, Barty beat Madi­son Keys 6-4, 6-1 to give Aus­tralia a 2-1 lead. Collins, who reached her first Grand Slam semi­fi­nal at the Aus­tralian Open last month, made it 2-2 af­ter a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 vic­tory over Daria Gavrilova.

The Aus­tralians will next play Be­larus, which lost the 2017 fi­nal to the U.S., in April. Be­larus dom­i­nated at Braun­schweig, with Aryna Sa­balenka cruis­ing past Laura Siege­mund 6-1, 6-1 to give her coun­try an in­sur­mount­able 3-0 lead over host Ger­many on an in­door hard court.

The ninth-ranked Sa­balenka hit 18 win­ners com­pared with five for her op­po­nent to help Be­larus avenge los­ing to Ger­many 3-2 last year in Minsk.

In the fi­nal dou­bles match, Vic­to­ria Azarenka teamed up with Lidziya Marozava to beat Mona Barthel and Anna-Lena Groene­feld 6-1, 0-6, 11-9 to win 4-0 over­all.

In Liege, Caro­line Gar­cia clinched an in­sur­mount­able 3-0 lead for France over host Bel­gium af­ter eas­ing past Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-3 to set up a semi­fi­nal against Ro­ma­nia.

— As­so­ci­ated Press

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