Fed Cup = Czech Mate

First at – http://www.wtatennis.com/news/article/5142174/title/sharapova-shines-but-czechs-hang-on?mobile=false

Published November 15, 2015 12:15

PRAGUE, Czech RepublicMaria Sharapova won a blockbuster against Petra Kvitova to give the Russians a 2-1 lead in the final, but the Czechs fought back to take home yet another Fed Cup title.

151115201618-czech-fed-cup-win-exlarge-169The marquee match of the day was the first match of the day as Sharapova and Kvitova squared off in the first reverse singles match. For a while it looked like Kvitova was going to come good – just like she had at the WTA Finals a few weeks ago – as she was five points from victory up 6-3, 4-4, 40-15.

But back-to-back double faults let Sharapova back into that game and the Russian broke, held to clinch the second set and then rolled through the third set to get the better of the Czech, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

“I thought Petra played unbelievable in the first set,” Sharapova said. “She was playing so aggressive and hitting really deep off both strokes. I just didn’t have that momentum in the first set – but she gave me a little bit of a window for a few points and I took it, and I was able to take the second set.”

“The end of the second set was a turning point when she broke me and held to win the set,” Kvitova said. “In the third set she just came back and started hitting really hard, with better placement and fewer mistakes too – it was difficult for me to keep playing well and hitting deep like I was.”

The will to win that has taken Sharapova to five Grand Slams and No.1 was definitely on display.

“It’s never over for me until we play the last point – I don’t care where I’m playing, or who I’m playing against,” the Russian said. “As soon as I won that second set today, I got that energy back.”

And there was even more fuel for her here. “This is one of the few competitions where you’re not just playing for yourself – I would look over to my team and they were standing up every time. And that’s the meaning of this event,” she said. “There’s no better feeling than being out on the court and having so many people from Russia fly out to support you, your teammates on the side cheering you on.”

But with the best-of-five format of a Fed Cup tie it’s never over until someone gets to three wins, and WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova kept Czech hopes alive with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second reverse singles match, taking it down to the wire – the doubles match.

And the Czechs came good there too – Pliskova and Barbora Strycova were down a set but mustered up all of their fight to make it past Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The Czechs have now won the Fed Cup four of the last five years. It’s their ninth title overall.

“We are feeling unbelievable. We can’t describe it. I’m speechless,” Strycova beamed afterwards.

“This atmosphere, playing here at home with such a crowd, it’s just unbelievable.”

“It’s the first experience for me in a Fed Cup final, so I’m really happy how we made it,” Pliskova said. “We both played really well in the last match and I’m so happy we have the trophy right now!

“It’s definitely one of the biggest wins of my career. It’s been an unbelievable week in Prague.”

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