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

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

After 26 Years Of Heartbreak, Great Britain Finally Secures Fed Cup Promotion

After losing four play-off ties since 2011, the British team have finally scored the breakthrough they desired.

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Johanna Konta (image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA)

A duo of hard fought singles victories in London has made history for British Tennis after the Fed Cup team defeated Kazakhstan to reach the World Group stage for the first time since 1993.

 

Tied at 1-1 after the first day, Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter prevailed in both of their matches to hand Great Britain an overall 3-1 win over their opponents. The proceedings were opened up on Sunday by former top 10 player Konta. Taking on Yania Putintseva, Konta battled to an epic 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. After dropping the opening set, she was then forced to recover from a 1-4 deficit in the decider to score the crucial victory. Putintseva, who was struggling physically during the match, is only the fourth top 50 player Konta has defeated so far in 2019.

“As a young girl, as an athlete wanting to make it to the top of my sport… you can only dream of this stuff.” She said during an interview with BT Sport. “Gosh that was one hell of a match wasn’t it?”

Following on from Konta’s heroics, it was Boulter’s chance to seal an unassailable lead for her country in the tie. Boulter wasn’t born until three years after her country was last in the World Group of the Fed Cup. The 22-year-old was out to seek redemption after squandering three match points on Saturday during her loss to Putintseva.

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This time round Boulter didn’t crumble when under pressure. Like teammate Konta, she roared back from a set down to defeat Zarina Diyas 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-1. Winning 67% of her first service points and breaking her opponent’s serve six times throughout the match.

“I was trying to get one win for the team, Johanna did a great job, I was just trying to make them proud today,” she told BT Sport.
“I showed yesterday how much it meant, I was so close but today I bounced back and got the win.
“We go again!!”

The triumph comes after what has been years of heartbreak for the British camp. Prior to 2019, they have been on the verge of reaching World Group II of the Fed Cup four times in seven years. Only to lose all of their play-off ties. Making their victory over Kazakhstan even more sweeter.

“Amazing. Just a heroic effort from the players this week, some fantastic tennis.” Team captain Anne Keothavong commented.
“Everyone here has been part of our journey and this has been an unforgettable weekend.
“Jo’s effort. coming back from behind, to Katie today. I think they have inspired a lot of people.”

Besides their new status, the contingent of player’s are hoping that their performances will help inspire the next generation. At present, there are five British players in the top 200 on the WTA Tour. Three of which are under the age of 22 (Boulter, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan).

“I hope that we have inspired a lot of kids here (in London) today to play tennis or do whatever they want to do.” Said team member Heather Watson.

It remains to be seen what is next for the Brits with the possibility of the Fed Cup changing its format. From next year there is a chance that the world group could be turned into a 12-team format. If this happened, Britain is likely to make that group thanks to their latest win.

https://twitter.com/the_LTA/status/1120012995508285440

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Australia Down Belarus In Thriller To End 26-Year Wait For Fed Cup Final

It is joy for the Aussies and heartbreak for Belarus in Brisbane.

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The Australian Fed Cup team (photo via https://twitter.com/FedCup)

The Australian duo of Ashleigh Barty and Sam Stosur has guided their country into the final of the Fed Cup for the first time since 1993 after a dramatic final day of their clash with Belarus.

 

Australia, who last won the team competition back in 1974, was pushed to their limits at the Pat Rafter Arena with the final match of the tie deciding their fate. After day one, they were held at 1-1 by Belarus. A team compromising of two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka and world No.10 Aryna Sabalenka.

Barty gave the home favourites an initial 2-1 advantage after she disposed of Sabalenka 6-2, 6-2. A player who she lost to twice during the second half of the 2018 season. However, Azarenka revived Belarus’ chances immediately with an emphatic 6-1, 6-1, win over tour veteran Stosur. Making it her first victory in the competition since 2016.

With all to play for, it was the doubles match that separated the two. During a roller coaster encounter, Barty and Stosur prevailed 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, over their rivals. Breaking twice in the decider on route to securing the overall 3-2 victory.

“It’s just super-exciting now to be in the Fed Cup final,” Stosur told fedcup.com afterwards. “All the girls, we work so hard throughout the year, and we really stick together as a team, Fed Cup weeks or not Fed Cup weeks. We’ve always got each others back, so to be in the Fed Cup final not I think a great reward for both of us, and we’re going to give it our best shot here in November.”

Team captain Alicia Molik has hailed the performance of her team. This year was the first time Australia has contested a semi-final of the competition since 2014. The country ranks third on the all-time list for more trophies won, but have failed to gain success in recent decades.

“It was just an incredible weekend,” Australian captain Molik reflected.
“We hadn’t exactly planned for it to come to the doubles, yet we were prepared. We got to that position, and I was really pleased today with both the outputs of Ash – it was phenomenal tennis out there – and Sam gave it her best.
“You can just see the joy in our faces too – winning that doubles rubber, what it means. We’re now in the final. I’m just so proud.”

In November’s final Australia will play either France or Romania.

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Fed Cup

Yulia Putintseva Saves Three Match Points To Keep Kazakhstan Alive Against Great Britain

Yulia Putintseva once again brought the drama as she saved Kazakhstan from being 2-0 down against Great Britain.

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Yulia Putintseva (@bbctennis - Twitter)

Yulia Putintseva saved three match points to defeat Katie Boulter 3-6 6-2 7-6(6) and level the tie for Kazakhstan against Great Britain.

 

In a match where there were injuries, passion and lots of drama, Putintseva saved three match points to level the tie for Kazakhstan.

Despite having a 4-0 lead in the deciding set, Boulter couldn’t close out the match as Great Britain are pegged back heading into the second day.

Earlier in the day Johanna Konta edged out Zarina Diyas 4-6 6-3 6-2 to give the hosts the lead in their World Group II Play-Off tie.

It was a good start from the Brit as she timed the ball to perfection as the Kazakh had no answers in the opening set. Two breaks at the end of the set sealed a positive start for Boulter, who was feeding off the crowd’s enthusiasm.

However the second set was a very different story as the Brit struggled with a knee injury as Putintseva took a more aggressive approach to proceedings.

Three games in a row against a cautious Boulter saw the world number 38 force a deciding set, which was sealed by an ace.

The final set saw Boulter time the ball exceptionally well again and overpower forehands with some aggressive forehands.

A 4-0 lead seemingly saw the Brit cruising but back came the controversial Kazakh as she managed to rescue one of the breaks of serve.

In nervy circumstances the world number 86 couldn’t hold her nerve when serving for the match at 5-3 as Putintseva pushed to force a final set tiebreak.

After one match point disappearing in the eleventh game, Boulter remained aggressive to create two more chances to seal the match.

But never count out Putintseva and four points in a row thanks to some gutsy play saw the Kazakh take the match in over two and a half hours as Britain sense an opportunity missed.

https://twitter.com/FedCup/status/1119668714784346112

It is a gutting loss for Britain, who should have a commanding 2-0 lead but instead have been pegged back at 1-1. The match is level after Johanna Konta edged out Zarina Diyas in the first rubber.

After controversy with the Kazakh’s fans trombone and trumpets, the Brit kept her cool to seal a crucial rubber for the hosts.

Tomorrow Johanna Konta will face Yulia Putintseva, with Katie Boulter, if 100%, playing Zarina Diyas. If the singles are once again split, then a deciding doubles rubber will decide the outcome of the tie.

Great Britain are looking to enter the top two tiers of Women’s Tennis for the first time in 28 years.

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