Czech Republic have reached a tenth consecutive Fed Cup Semi-Final after a straight sets Petra Kvitova win secured a 3-1 victory over Switzerland
The world number 21 and multiple time grand slam champion looked sizzling hot from the start of the match as she gained two breaks of serve in the opening set. Bencic could not deal with the big lefty forehand that she faced and was on the back foot for most of the match.
After 37 minutes Kvitova comfortably served out the first set 6-2 as she continued to punish Bencic for her errors. The second set was a tighter affair as the world number 73 managed to deal with Kvitova’s presence much better and used her big shots to move the tall Czech Republican around.
However Kvitova, who made an emotional return to the Fed Cup scene this weekend, managed to secure a crucial break in the seventh game to break down the Bencic momentum. Despite several opportunities, Bencic could not break her Czech Republican opponent down as she was left frustrated. Kvitova served out the match to complete a 6-2 6-4 victory and make sure that her nation would compete in an historic tenth consecutive Fed Cup Semi-Final.
Despite Switzerland’s best efforts they could not repeat their previous success and will now compete in a World Group Play-Off in April to try and keep their World Group status.
The Czech Republic will now play Germany in the Semi-Finals after they overcame last year’s finalists Belarus 3-2 in an exhilarating tie. With the tie locked in at 1-1 going into Sunday, Belarus were dealt a huge blow as Sasnovich had to miss the first match of the day due to illness. She was replaced by Vera Lapko, who made her Fed Cup singles debut.
Despite Lapko’s best efforts she fell to Tatjana Maria in three sets as the German Number One in this tie gave the visitors a 2-1 lead. However Belarus would soon level the tie after their number two, Aryna Sabalenka battled past Antonia Lottner 6-3 5-7 6-2 to force a deciding doubles rubber.
The deciding doubles was drama personified, however world number 21 Anna-Lena Groenefeld used her doubles experience to lead Germany to victory after her and Maria defeated Sabalenka and Marozava 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4. Belarus compete in the World Group Play-Off draw.
France and USA Set Super Showdown
In the other Semi-Final in April, France will play the USA in what is set to be a super clash. France beat Belgium 3-2 after Kristina Mladenovic and Amandine Hesse defeated Kirsten Flipkens and Elise Mertens in the deciding doubles 6-4 2-6 6-2.
While USA have attained an unassailable 3-0 lead over the Netherlands after Venus Williams defeated Richel Hogenkamp 7-5 6-1. This means USA have won their 150th Fed Cup tie and will compete in the Semi-Finals in April when they take on France.
The Netherlands and Belgium will be in the World Group Play-Offs in April, with the draw for those play-offs and the World Group II Play-Offs taking place on Tuesday.
Sorana Cirstea Announces Fed Cup Retirement, WTA Stars Prepare For 2019
Sorana Cirstea announces her Fed Cup retirement as WTA stars prepare for the 2019 season.
World number 85 Sorana Cirstea has announced her retirement from Fed Cup after competing in the competition for 12 years.
The Romanian first made her debut when she was just 16 years old when she competed against Sweden in Zone Group I Europe/Africa.
Since then Cirstea has won 16 of her 29 Fed Cup rubbers but has now announced that it is time to move on and wishes the team the best of luck for the future.
“I feel like I have done my duty. And now is the time to pass the relay baton onto the new generation,” Cirstea said on her Facebook page.
“I would like to thank my teammates, the Federation, the captains, the coaches and everyone who was involved in our success, and especially the Romanian crowd that has been supporting me over the years.”
The 28 year-old will look to now improve her ranking after a disappointing 2018 season which included a 17-25 win-loss record.
WTA Starts Prepare For 2019
Meanwhile other WTA players have been preparing for the new season, which officially begins in 16 days. Here is some of the best action from the off-season so far:
The Dane decided to use her off-season to improve her tennis with a certain 23 time grand slam champion:
The Belarusian rising star had an amazing 2018 season and is using unique training methods to improve further next season:
Despite an underwhelming 2018 season, the Spaniard has been practicing in California to get ready for the 2019 season:
Practice is perfect in Julia Goerges’ case as she looks to expand on her Wimbledon semi-final:
The US Open champion is getting ready for the new season in Los Angeles as she looks to gain even more fans in 2019:
VIDEO: Was It A Wise Choice For Denis Shapovalov To Skip The Next Gen Finals?
Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta speaks with John Horn about the Canadian rising star.
Last week saw Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas add to his title collection at the Next Gen Finals in Milan, but one notable absentee from the tournament was Denis Shapovalov.
The 19-year-old is the youngest player inside the world’s top 100 at 27th and the fourth highest ranked among the Next Generation. A group of upcoming players under the age of 21. Shapovalov opted to end his season early due to exhaustion. Ubitennis analyses Shapovalov’s decision and looks ahead to what the future could have in store for him.
Katerina Siniakova saves two match points to secure the 11th Fed Cup title for
Katerina Siniakova secured the decivive 3-0 point to earn Czech Republic its 11th Fed Cup title and its 6th triumph in the past eight seasons at this event since 2011. Siniakova had to save two match point at 4-5 in the third set to beat US Sofia Kenin 7-5 5-7 7-5 in the third singles match to the delight of the enthusiastic Czech fans, who packed the O2 Arena in Prague.
Siniakova scored her second singles win this weekend after beating Alison Riske on Saturday.
Siniakova converted her first break chance and went up a double break early in the first set. Kenin got back on serve at 1-2 in a 10-minute game before breaking again in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Sinakova bounced back by breaking serve once more. Kenin converted on her break point at deuce at 3-5 down before drawing level to 5-5. Siniakova reeled off five consecutive games to build up a 7-5 3-0 lead, but Kenin came back from 15-40 down to win her first game of the second set. The US teenager broke twice in a row in the fifth and seventh games. Siniakova pulled the break back for 4-5 with a series of backhand winners. Kerer broke again at love in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead before sealing the second set on the fourth set point.
Siniakova saved three break points in the first game of the decider before breaking serve on her second chance. The Czech player consolidated the break with a hold to build up a 3-0 lead.
Siniakova fended off four break points to hold serve for 4-1 in a 19-minute marathon fifth game. Kenin fought back by winning four consecutive games thanks to two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to take a 5-4 lead, but she fired the ball beyond the baseline twice from 40-15 and failed to convert her two match points. Siniakova reeled off six points in a row from 0-40 down at 5-5. Siniakova got the final break of the match in the 12th game to seal a thrilling win after 3 hours and 44 minutes, when Kenin sent her forehand into the tramlines. The Czech team celebrated the fourth of their six titles since 2011 at the O2 Arena in Prague.
Siniakova scored the third win in four singles Fed Cup rubbers. She hit 4 aces and won 56 percent of her first serve points. Kenin hit 42 winners but she made 76 unforced errors.
Czech Republic ended a 8-match losing streak against the USA at Fed Cup level.
Petr Pala has won his sixth title as captain of the Czech Fed Cup team. He boasts an impressive 24-4 win-loss record in the 28 Fed Cup matches where he took charge of the Czech team.
The US team captained by Kathy Rinaldi did not defend their title won in 2017, but they featured a young team with three players Danielle Collins, Sofia Kenin and Nicole Melichar, who made their debut at this event this weekend.
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