Czechs Reach Another Fed Cup Final After Drama In Lucerne. - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

Czechs Reach Another Fed Cup Final After Drama In Lucerne.

Today was an especially eventful day at Lucerne, Switzerland; at least tennis-wise. Karolina Pliskova took the lead on Day 2 for the Czechs, defeating Timea Bacsinszky 6-4 6-2. Viktorija Golubic then pulled off another amazing upset, coming back from a set down against Barbora Strycova, ultimately winning 3-6 7-6(6) 6-1. The disadvantage of having only 3 players on the team has proven in the final doubles, when a fatigued Golubic had to come back for the deciding doubles rubber with Martina Hingis. They fell to the Czech team of Pliskova and Hradecka 2-6 2-6 and lost the tie.

Jakub Bobro

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The Czech captain Petr Pala commented on the dramatic win and why does he think they came out on top today.”It was sensational the way they played. The key was the depth of our team today. It gave me more opportunities to make the doubles team. It is a great feeling for the camp. The spirit is there, everybody wants to win the cup.”

 

Bacsinszky and Pliskova have failed their duty as team No. 1 to take the win, but after getting upset, they had to get their heads back in the game for a mutual match. Bacsinszky was playing a lot better than yesterday, but it still wasn’t enough to defeat the tall Czech. The first set was very level, neither of the players were dominating. However Bacsinszky had break points at 1-0 and 2-1 which she didn’t confirm. Pliskova then finally got the first break in the match at 4-4. Pliskova successfully ended the first set with an ace and took the lead. Pliskova exposed Bacsinszky’s second serve really well, causing the Swiss to win only 29% of points after her second serve, while Pliskova won 84% of points on her first serve.

Bacsinszky’s service and overall performance then just dropped, allowing Pliskova to get two early breaks and a lead of 4-0. Pliskova didn’t choke away the match, end kept her focus as both players held. Bacsinszky’s percentage of points won after first serve dropped to 46%, while Pliskova was at 100%, winning all 12 points on first serve. Pliskova also did a great job of pushed Bacsinszky into mistakes. The Swiss produced 16 forced errors in the second set alone.

After her match, Pliskova said: “Obviously yesterday was a tough match and tough day for me because I didn’t expect to lose this one. Even physically I was a little bit down. I just had a good dinner, went to sleep and woke up on a new day with new energy and just tried to do my best.”

Viktorija Golubic played a must-win match against Barbora Strycova. Both players managed to pull of the upset on Saturday, and met in this crucial tie. Strycova put out a solid game in the first set, taking it 6-3 after a little bit of trouble in the final game, having to use 5 set points.

The second set was again very level, but was starting to get crazy in the end, as a string of 4 breaks in a row from 4-4 led to a tiebreak. Golubic had two opportunities the serve the set out, but didn’t even get a set point in either of them, so the match led to a tiebreak. The tiebreak was very level with only 3 breaks of serve, but Golubic came out on top in the second set, winning it after 74 minutes.

In the third set, Strycova started to show visible signs of fatigue, and her performance level started to decrease, while Golubic kept on. Golubic was just near perfect, winning 90% of points on first serve, getting 11 winners while making only 2 unforced errors. Golubic won the third set dominantly 6-1, and after 2 hours and 33 minutes sent the tie into deciding doubles.

Viktorija Golubic had to come back for doubles, due to Switzerland missing a player on their team. Golubic played with the World No. 1 Martina Hingis. Their opponents, representing Czech Republic were Lucie Hradecka and Karolina Pliskova. The Czechs were the dominating power in the doubles, as the Swiss team struggled on serve. The first break came on Hingis’ serve at 2-2. From there Hradecka and Pliskova won 3 more games to take the first set in 28 minutes. The Czech team played a very fast game, made it hard to get into rythm.

Lucie Hradecka made the observation as well: “I am happy with how we played,” Hradecka said. “Maybe I expected a closer match but I know if we play fast and we don’t give them a lot of time, it would be an advantage for us. It was great and I really enjoyed it.”

The second set was also controlled by Czech Republic, getting a break in the first game. Czechs broke again for 5-2, and Hradecka got to serve the match out, taking the first match point, as Hingis put the running forehand into the net.

Despite the loss, the Swiss captain Heinz Guenthardt tried to focus on the positives: “I am very proud of my team. We left everything out on the centre court and I don’t there there is any question or any doubt in anyone’s mind that we did that. You can’t ask of a team anything more than that.”

The opponent of the Czech Republic in the final will be France, defeating Netherlands in the final doubles rubber as well.

Fed Cup

Captain Benneteau ‘Proud’ After France Seal First Fed Cup For 16 Years

Kristina Mladenovic won both the matches she was involved with to seal the Fed Cup title for France.

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Caroline Garcia And Kristina Mladenovic (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

France’s Fed Cup captain Julien Benneteau expressed his pride after France edged out Australia 3-2 in the Fed Cup final. 

 

The visitors claimed their first Fed Cup title for 16 years in Perth after Kristina Mladenovic won both of the matches she was involved with.

It all started after Mladenovic produced one of the greatest wins of her career by edging out world number one Ash Barty 2-6 6-4 7-6(1) in the first match of the day.

Both players had convincing wins on day one and it was the Australian who started the strongest, claiming the first set 6-2.

However Mladenovic struck back in the second set with a crucial break at 5-4 as she closed out the set to force a decider.

There was a lot of momentum shifts in the deciding set but eventually the world number 40 dominated the tiebreak to seal a shock win and a 2-1 lead for France.

Australia hit back in the second rubber of the day as Ajla Tomljanovic produced a solid performance to defeat Pauline Parmentier 6-4 7-5.

After a convincing loss in day one, Tomljanovic produced stunning shot-making to redeem herself and score her first Fed Cup win as an Australian.

The deciding rubber was a highly-anticipated doubles match between Ash Barty and Sam Stosur taking on Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.

All four players had a combined total of 13 doubles grand slam titles as Australia had a good start to the match but lacked clinical edge after that.

The French team took advantage as they won the last two games of the opening set and the first two games of the second set.

This allowed them to control the tempo and when Stosur hit a volley long, the celebrations could start as they sealed a 6-4 6-3 win.

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After the match, Captain Julien Benneteau expressed his pride at his French side, “I’m the proudest man on the planet right now,” Benneteau claimed.

“I’m so proud of my girls and the team, they deserve it because they fought for a long time for this title. It’s a dream for me. I tried to imagine that at the beginning of the year when I knew that I could have the best team with me on the court. Eight months later, here we are.”

The win means it’s France’s third Fed Cup triumph overall and their first since 2003, with Kristina Mladenovic winning all three of the matches she was involved with.

As for Australia, it was emotional scenes as Barty didn’t seem to have enough in the tank to edge the Aussies over the finish line.

This final also means its the last traditional final as the format will now to change a one-week 12 team contest which will take place next April in Budapest.

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Fed Cup

Ash Barty And Kristina Mladenovic Power To Victory On Day One At Fed Cup Final

Ash Barty and Kristina Mladenovic produced one-sided victories to keep the score level after day one of the Fed Cup Final.

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Ash Barty (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

Ash Barty and Kristina Mladenovic produced dominant displays to keep Australia and France level at the end of day one of the Fed Cup Final. 

 

In front of a sold-out RAC Arena in Perth, Australia were bidding for their first Fed Cup title since 1974 as they took on a reunited French team.

However their bid got off to the worst possible start as a nervy Ajla Tomljanovic was stunned by Kristina Mladenovic in 72 minutes.

Hitting 16 winners, the world number 40 pummelled her way past Tomljanovic to hand the visitors the early advantage.

Though the Australian debutant showed moments of brilliance, they were in patches as Mladenovic produced a stunning performance for the French team.

After the match, the doubles grand slam champion admitted she played the perfect match, “I really did almost a perfect match, I was really in the zone,” Mladenovic said in her on-court interview.

“I love these kind of events — the more the pressure it is, the bigger the pressure it is, the more special is the event. I came out there and I just wanted to win, basically.”

As France held the early lead, the pressure was on world number one Ash Barty to deliver and deliver she did in an equally impressive performance.

A 6-0 6-0 thrashing of Caroline Garcia was exactly what Australia ordered as Barty was ruthless in her dismantling of the French number two.

Eight aces helped Barty power past the world number 45 and the 40 degree temperatures as a mix of variety as well as power was evidence why every rubber the hosts of win this year has involved Barty.

https://twitter.com/TennisAustralia/status/1193039964126294016

After the 56 minute win the world number one explained how she executed her game-plan, “I think just overall today I executed very well. I made Caro pretty uncomfortable,” Barty said.

“I felt like in the first three or four of my service games I was in control of a lot of the points, and Caro is a player who like court position, she likes to be up in the court. So that was a key factor for me today. And that’s probably the best I’ve returned in a long long time.”

It is now 15 wins in a row for Barty in Fed Cup as she takes on Kristina Mladenovic in a crucial third rubber tomorrow.

Then Caroline Garcia is scheduled to take on Ajla Tomljanovic although both teams could be set to make changes depending on the scenario.

Should the two nations split the singles again then the deciding doubles will see Ash Barty and Sam Stosur take on Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.

Play begins from 3am GMT time tomorrow, in what will be the last day of a traditional Fed Cup Final before the re-formatted version begins next year.

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Fed Cup

Ash Barty Heads Australia’s Bid To End Their 45-Year Fed Cup Title Drought

Will it be jubilation or heartbreak for team Australian this weekend?

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Ashleigh Barty - Fed Cup 2019 (via Twitter, @FedCup)

When Australia last won the Fed Cup, none of the participants in this weekend’s final was even born. Including both the team captains.

 

1974 was the last time the country triumphed in the team tournament. A perhaps surprising statistic for a country who is the third most decorated in the history of the competition. World No.1 Ash Barty will lead her team when they played France on home soil in Perth. It is the first time in almost 20 years the two have locked horns with both being optimistic about their chances of victory.

“When you are playing for your country and you are playing in a Fed Cup final, it is pretty easy to get up and about and be as ready as you can,” said Barty, who recently won the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
“It’s a format that I love, I cherish it. This is going to be a really precious week.”

Barty’s performance in the final could be critical to Australia’s hopes. She is the only top 50 player in her team, but Ajla Tomljanovic is just outside in 51st place. In comparison, France has four players ranked inside the top 65 in the singles. Kristina Mladenovic is also the current world No.2 in doubles. Something Barty is wary of.

“Kiki has the ability to play well in the big moments,” she told AAP.
“Obviously she was on a bit of a heater in Shenzhen in doubles and she’s a beautiful doubles player. We’ve seen that time and time again.
“I’m sure, without knowing the team until Friday, that her name will feature heavily on Saturday and Sunday.
“So it’s someone I would love to play and try and right my wrongs from midway through the year when we played in Rome.”

Whilst being the visitors, France are by no means intimidated by the occasion. They have only won the title twice before with the most recent occurring back in 2003. Three years ago, they narrowly missed out on winning the trophy after losing the final match in their tie against the Czech Republic.

Caroline Garcia was one of the Frenchwomen who featured in the 2016 final. She believes that loss has made France even stronger.

“That final was a great lesson for me and all of us,” Garcia reflects. “We now have the experience of losing and we don’t want to have the feeling of losing a final again. We have been there before, whereas the Australian girls haven’t. It is an important factor for us.”

The nominations

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Ajla Tomljanovic has been chosen to open up Australia’s campaign on Saturday against Mladenovic. The match will be her first ever representing her country in the Fed Cup. The former Croatian No.1 was recently approved to play for Australia following an appeal to the ITF. A somewhat controversial decision in the aftermath of Aljaz Bedene’s failed attempt to represent Great Britain a couple years ago.

Tomljanovic was picked ahead of veteran player Sam Stosur. The 35-year-old has played 57 Fed Cup matches in her career and has played in 31 ties. She has won more singles matches in the competition than any other Australian player in history.

“It is exceptionally tough to decide your two singles players for day one. For us it was a matter of match-ups and I feel like we are going in with our strongest two players for Saturday,” said team captain Alicia Molik.
“I feel like it’s the right decision… within this team everyone brought such a high level in practice. It has been difficult, sets have been very close and that’s really the way that we want it. It should be a tough decision.”

As for the second singles match, Barty will take on Garcia. They are currently level at 2-2 in their head-to-head, But Barty won their most recent meeting at the Wuhan Open this year. However  French captain, Julien Benneteau, is confident in his players.

“In the first two rounds (against Belgium and Romania), we proved that we could win with different players in singles. It is an advantage,” he stated.

The final will start on Saturday at 11:00 local time (0300 GMT).

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