Petra Kvitova Guides The Czech Republic To Fed Cup Showdown With America - UBITENNIS
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Petra Kvitova Guides The Czech Republic To Fed Cup Showdown With America

The European nation will have the chance to end their 23-year losting streak against their American rivals in November.

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The Czech Republic will play in their sixth Fed Cup final in eight years following a dominant 4-1 win over Germany at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart.

After winning both of their singles matches on Saturday, the Czech team was given a run for their money by their opponents on day two. In the opening match Julia Goerges revived German chances with a 6-4, 6-2, triumph over world No.6 Karolina Pliskova. Producing a total of eight aces and 26 winners in the match.

German hopes were dashed in the match that followed Goerges’ win. Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova held her nerve to edge out Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-2, in just 58 minutes. Heading into the encounter the two players were level in their head-to-head at 5-5, but their latest meeting was one-way traffic in Kvitova’s favour. Kvitova produced a total of 31 winners compared to her rivals tally of only seven.

“I am very relieved. I was getting nervous before this game,” Kvitova told AFP news.“We had a great position from yesterday, I think Julia played a really good match.
“I knew we still needed one point from our last two games and I just did my best.”

The mood of the home team worsened further in the final match. The Czech duo of Barbora Strycova and Katerina Siniakova was leading 7-5 in their doubles match before their rivals, Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, retired injured.

“It will take a while to get over it,” Kerber commented about the result of the tie. “We all know that was a great opportunity for us,” she added.

The Czech Republic will be bidding to win the team tournament for the 11th time. They are the second most successful team in the history of the competition in terms of trophies won.

America awaits

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Facing the Czech team in the final will be reigning champions the USA. Taking on France in their semifinal clash, they managed to prevail by winning both of their Sunday matches in the singles after being tamed at 1-1 on the opening day of the tie.

Sloane Stephens got the ball rolling with a 6-2, 6-0, thrashing of Kristina Mladenovic. The US Open champion was in an unforgiving mood as she dictated play from the onset. Converting five of her six break point chances and capitalising on Mladenovic’s below-par second service rate of 38%.

“That was a really good one. You never anticipate a scoreline like the way it turned out but it was really solid,” Stephens evaluated about her performance.

The unassailable lead for America was then clinched by Madison Keys. Despite some stern resistance by world No.122 Pauline Parmentier, the 23-year-old battled to a 7-6(4), 6-4 lead. Saving eight out of the 11 break points she faced.

“I was really nervous – I wanted to be the one who got the winning point. I was so sad I couldn’t play in the final last year because of my wrist injury.” Keys told fedcup.com. “Fed Cup is special. It captures the extremes of highs and lows in tennis. It takes me days to recover from a Fed Cup loss, whereas with a normal match within a day you’re bouncing back – but the wins are incredible.”

A chance for revenge

Historically, America has been a nightmare competitor for the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup. They have clashed 12 times since 1980 with the American’s winning 10 of those, including one last year. The last time the European nation triumphed was when they played under the name of Czechoslovakia back in 1985.

“Every time it feels exciting and we are happy to be in the final.” Said Kvitova. “Maybe I (would prefer to play) France, USA you never know they have some great players but any team that is in the final has great players.”

American team captain Kathy Rinaldi now has the chance to guide her country to back-to-back titles for the first time since 2000. America is already the most decorated team in the Fed Cup with 18 trophies to their name.

“The girls did so well, both today and yesterday. We are very fortunate to have such a strong group and now we are looking forward to what is going to be a great final,” U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi said.

The Czech Republic will host the final in November at a yet to be confirmed venue.

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Fed Cup

Injury Heartbreak Motivates Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Tie With Mexico

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SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Storm Hunter of Team Australia reacts during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals group stage match between Australia and Kazakhstan at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

The captain of the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team says they are supporting one of their top players after she suffered a serious injury on the eve of their latest tie. 

Storm Hunter, who is currently ranked No.3 in the world for doubles, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon whilst training at a practice session on Thursday with her teammates. The severity of the injury means she will almost certainly be forced to pull out of this summer’s Olympic Games where she would have been a medal contender, as well as both the French Open and Wimbledon. Hunter has already won a WTA 1000 title this season in Dubai and was also runner-up in Indian Wells. In both of those tournaments, she was partnering Kateřina Siniaková. 

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” said Hunter.
“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

According to the Australian press, team captain Sam Stosur said Hunter’s teammates are ‘rallying behind‘ her and “wishing her the very, very best and the quickest recovery possible.”

As a result of the injury, Daria Saville was brought in to play in her country’s singles match on the opening day of their tie against Mexico on Friday. The world No.94 was in top form as she charged to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-0, win over Marcela Zacarias in less than an hour. 

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for all of us, pretty emotional,” said Saville who has undergone surgery on her Achilles in the past. 
“It’s so nice to have Stormy here supporting us. Not long ago that kind of happened to me … so we’re giving Stormy a lot of love. 
“I felt like I was pretty determined and clearly that showed.”

Despite the blow, Australia is on the verge of beating Mexico. In the other singles match on the opening day, Arina Rodionova came back from a set down to beat Giuliana Olmos 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With a 2-0 lead, they only need one more win to clinch the tie. 

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Fed Cup

Italian Captain Tathiana Garbin Reveals Rare Tumor Diagnoses After Team’s Loss At BJK Finals

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Former top 30 player and captain of the Italian Billie Jean King Cup team Tathiana Garbin has publically announced that she is battling a serious health issue. 

Just hours after her team lost to Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup final in Seville on Sunday, the 46-year-old issued a statement confirming that she is undergoing treatment for a rare tumor that has been found in her stomach. Garbin had her first surgery in October but will have to undergo further procedures in the coming weeks. 

“I really wish to thank my Federation, which has constantly supported me with extraordinary solidarity and sensitivity,” Gabin said in a statement sent to the news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA). 
“Seville was a very important event for me, and I absolutely didn’t want to miss it despite being very close to my operation: the Federation has shown they placed full trust in me. There is nothing that makes me prouder than representing the colors of Italy. “

Gabin says she hopes to raise awareness of medical research and prevention by going public about her condition, as well as hoping to inspire others with her story. She is being treated by Professor Di Candio and Professor Morelli at the Cisanello Hospital in Pisa. 

“I thank my BJ King Cup girls, who have shown me incredible love and support. Their presence and support have been a beacon of positivity in these difficult days,” she said in tribute to her team.
“However, I would like to inform you that I will have to undergo a second surgery, required by the treatment planned by the doctors. Thanks to the rapid recovery I have experienced, I am optimistic about being back on court.”

As a player, Garbin peaked at a ranking high of No.22 in singles and No.25 in doubles. Her sole singles title on the WTA Tour occurred in 2000 when she won the Budapest Open in Hungary. Seven years after that, she reached the fourth round of the French Open in what was her best-ever run at a major event. 

Garbin has served as Italy’s Billie Jean King Cup captain since 2016. 

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Fed Cup

Doubles Delight: Great Britain Ousts France 2-1 In Davis Cup Classic

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Image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA/

Great Britain has won the last spot in the Davis Cup finals by prevailing in a highly dramatic clash against France in front of a record crowd in Manchester.

With the must-win showdown level at 1-1, the tie was decided by a rollercoaster doubles match with Dan Evans and Neil Skupski battling their way past Nicolas Mahut and Édouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(6). In what was one of the most tense matches ever involving the British team, four match points were saved by the hosts. Evans fended off three whilst serving 4-5 down in the decider before Skupski saved one when he was serving two games later. To add to the drama, in the decisive tiebreaker Britain lost a mini-break advantage twice before prevailing on their second match point. 

“I don’t know how we’ve won that fight, sheer fight. Incredible effort from Dan to come out and win this match with me,” said Skupski.
“The first set wasn’t too good. We regrouped, took a toilet [break] and fought as hard as we could. Dan saving three points in the third set. The rest is history and we’re off to Malaga.” 

The triumph caps off what has been a marathon day at The AO Arena with all three matches going the full distance. A total of more than 13,000 seats was sold for the tie which is a record for a single day of Davis Cup action in the UK. 

Earlier in the day, Evans got Britain off to a perfect start by fighting back from a set and a break down to beat Arthur Fils 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in what was a close fight. At the end of the encounter, there was a tense exchange between the two which continued during the doubles match with Evans seen making gestures towards the Frenchman who was watching from the stands. 

France’s sole victor was Ugo Humbert who beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie 7-6(5),3-6, 7-5. A new confidence blow to the British No.1 who has only won back-to-back matches in one out of his past five tournaments. 

“The team is amazing. We get on very well. Everyone’s played a part. It’s all those guys and girls standing there (in the stands) who are amazing.” Captain Leon Smith commented. 

Britain joins Australia in qualifying from Group B to November’s finals which will be held in Malaga. The team has won all three of their ties played in Manchester with their previous wins being over Australia and Switzerland earlier in the week. 

In total, eight teams have secured their place in the finals. Group stages have also been held in Spain, Croatia and Italy with the top two nations from each of those events progressing. 

Britain is seeking to win the Davis Cup title for only the second time in the Open Era after 2015. 

List of teams through to the knockout stages in Malaga

  • Great Britain
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands

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