Czech Republic lead defending champion United States in Fed Cup final

Heather Diaz
November 13, 2018

World doubles number one Katerina Siniakova and veteran Barbora Strycova powered the Czech Republic to the verge of another Fed Cup title in the final against defending champions the United States on Saturday.

Barbora Strycova and Katerina Siniakova both won their matches against Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske respectively to put the hosts one point from victory.

Alison Riske will be the second singles player on court tomorrow for the US in the Fed Cup final as her country looks to win back-to-back competitions for the first time since the turn of the millennium.

· The semi-finals: Czech Republic beat Germany 4-1 to reach the final, the United States of America beat France, 3-2.

The Czech Republic has now won the Fed Cup title six times in the past eight years. Kathy Rinaldi couldn't count on Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys and Williams sisters, traveling to Prague with the best possible team she could gather but with no big expectations against such strong rivals and the crowd they have.

America's chances of retaining the Fed Cup this weekend improved on Friday when two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was ruled out of the opening singles for the Czech Republic due to illness.

"I believe in all my players up here", she said.

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In Sunday's reverse singles, Kenin will go up against Siniakova and Riske will meet Strycova.

The competition's two most successful nations were meeting in a Fed Cup final for the first time in more than three decades. The Czechs are weakened, too, missing their two top-10 players.

They traded breaks in games seven and eight as well to stay neck and neck and four good holds sent them into a tie break that Kenin won 7-5 after four mini-breaks and more than 60 minutes of play.

It is an 11th overall title for the Czechs, five of which came as the former Czechoslovakia, a haul second only to the usa and their record of 18. "For my Fed Cup debut, I was pretty nervous but I was able to handle it once I stepped on the court", Kenin said.

"For me it was a lot of emotions", Strycova said on court after the win.

An eventful opener set the tone as the two players combined for seven breaks of serve, Siniakova finally taking it in the 12th game on her third set-point opportunity.

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