Sport Tennis Czechs win Fed Cup for fourth time in five years

Czechs win Fed Cup for fourth time in five years

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Karolina Pliskova won her singles rubber and then teamed up with Barbora Strycova to take the decisive doubles and lead the Czech Republic to a successful defence of their Fed Cup title.

Pliskova and Strycova beat Russian pair Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina 4-6 6-3 6-2 at Prague’s hardcourt O2 Arena on Sunday to hand the hosts their fourth trophy in five years.

The Czechs have won their ninth title overall, including five as Czechoslovakia, which went on to split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

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Russia have won four titles from 11 final ties, including those they played as the former Soviet Union.

World No.11 Pliskova was the star of the day after she saw off 28th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-4 in Sunday’s second singles rubber.

In the day’s opener, Maria Sharapova, the world No.4, came back from a set down to edge sixth-ranked Petra Kvitova 3-6 6-4 6-2.

Propelled by Pliskova’s success in the singles, the Czechs doubles pair started in high spirits, but their early break was not enough as the Russians broke twice to take the first set.

But the hosts declined to bow out early and dominated the second set, despite a late break by the Russians.

They broke Vesnina’s serve in game one of the final set and then did it again six games later to lift the trophy.

In Sunday’s second singles rubber, hard-hitting Pliskova, 23, took the first set with a single break, capitalising on aggressive play against 24-year-old Pavlyuchenkova.

Both traded breaks in the opening games of set two and Pliskova then struck again in the ninth game to send the home crowd into a frenzy.

“It’s definitely one of the biggest wins in my career,” beamed Pliskova.

“I was trying to focus on my serve and it was working today so I’m really happy for that.”


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