Simona Halep has set up a thrilling second day in Ostrava as she levelled the tie for Romania away to the Czech Republic.
The Roland Garros champion cruised past Katerina Siniakova 6-4 6-0 to level the tie for Romania in Ostrava against defending champions Czech Republic.
This was after Karolina Pliskova gave the hosts an early advantage as her and Halep are set to meet in a crucial third rubber tomorrow.
In other World Group results France and Belarus are on the verge of the semi-finals after leading Belgium and Germany 2-0 respectively.
After edging a tight first set, Halep raced to an emphatic victory as she levelled the tie in the first round of their World Group tie in Ostrava.
There was also an impressive win for the in-form Pliskova as the duo will meet each other in the battle of the top five players.
After the match the Romanian said that she is excited to represent her country once again this week, “It’s Fed Cup, so the pressure is more but it’s an open match and I think tomorrow, I’ll fight for that chance and I’ll be motivated, playing for my country.”
Although tomorrow looks an exciting match on paper, Australian Open semi-finalist Karolina Pliskova is staying calm ahead of the blockbuster third rubber, “Of course, I’m excited – but I can’t afford to get over-excited,” Pliskova explained in her post-match interview.
“Six-two is fine – the match starts from zero-zero, so there’s going to be a chance for both of us, never mind what happened in the past. I just have it in my head that I beat her (in the Fed Cup three years ago) when we won.”
After Pliskova and Halep it will be Katerina Siniakova against Mihaela Buzarnescu with the doubles rubber potentially deciding who reaches the semi-final.
Since being promoted back to the World Group in 2010, the Czechs haven’t lost a World Group first round, so it will be a difficult task for Romania.
France and Belarus on the verge of Semi-Finals
France and Belarus are on the verge of the semi-finals though after winning both their respective singles matches after day one.
In Liege, Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet returned to Fed Cup duty with wins over Alison Van Uytvanck and Elise Mertens. While Garcia won in three sets, Cornet stunned world number 12 Mertens in straight sets to give Julien Benneteau a good start as captain.
Caroline Garcia can seal the tie for France tomorrow with a win over Elise Mertens while the hosts need to win all three matches tomorrow.
In Braunschweig, Germany face a big task if they want a place in the last four of the Fed Cup as they trail a strong Belarusian side.
Wins for Aliaksandra Sasnovich and a ruthless Aryna Sabalenka means the world number nine can seal the visitors’ place in the last four with a win over Tatjana Maria.
Fed Cup Finals Draw: Australia And Czech Republic Given Tricky Tests In Budapest
Australia and Czech Republic have been handed difficult draws for the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.
Australia and Czech Republic have been given tricky draws ahead of the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest.
The event in Hungary takes place on the 14th-19th of April on clay to prepare players for the clay-court season that will approach.
In the inaugural event there are 12 nations competing for the Fed Cup title with the four group winners advancing to the semi-finals.
Ahead of April’s Fed Cup finale, the draw was announced today which has seen some mouth-watering matches set to take place.
Last year’s finalist’s Australia are in Group B and they have been given tricky tests against a strong Belarus team and Belgium.
Belarus have Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Victoria Azarenka at their disposal while Belgium will be lead by Elise Mertens.
Meanwhile the other group in their half of the draw will see Czech Republic will face tough tests against Germany and a Switzerland team lead by Belinda Bencic.
On the other side of the draw, defending champions France will look to successfully defend their title when they face Russia and hosts Hungary.
Given the scenarios, this is a fairly good draw for France who would regard clay as their strongest surface and are favourites to make the last four.
In the last four, France could play USA who have been drawn with Spain and Slovakia who beat Great Britain in last weekend’s qualifiers.
Here is the full draw with the full round-robin schedule for April’s finals set to be released on Monday:
Winner of Group A v Winner of Group C
Winner of Group B v Winner of Group D
Great Britain Handed Mexican Away Trip In Fed Cup Play-Off Draw
Great Britain face another away tie as they travel to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Offs.
Great Britain have been handed an away trip to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Off draw as they look to compete in next year’s qualifiers.
The Brits, who were without Johanna Konta in their 3-1 defeat away to Slovakia, will now head to Mexico in April looking to avoid being relegated to Zone Group I.
Just like their tie in Bratislava, they are likely to be without Johanna Konta who has one eye on the Olympic Games and also like their tie this past weekend the tie will probably be on clay.
However this time the British team will be favourites to make next year’s Fed Cup qualifiers as the Mexican don’t have a single Women’s singles player in the top 200.
There will be eight Fed Cup play-offs which will be played on the 17th and 18th of April, with the eight winners joining eight teams from the Fed Cup finals.
14 of the 16 teams are confirmed with the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I still needed to be played in early March in Dubai after the Coronavirus epidemic meant that China couldn’t host the event in February.
Here is the full Fed Cup play-off draw:
(C) = Choice of Ground
Brazil v Poland (C)
Great Britain v Mexico (C)
Canada v Serbia (C)
Latvia (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC
Japan (C) v Ukraine
Romania (C) v Italy
Kazakhstan v Argentina (C)
Netherlands (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC
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.
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.
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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