Published: Tue, November 13, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Czechs take 2-0 lead against United States in Fed Cup final

Czechs take 2-0 lead against United States in Fed Cup final

Staying solid and reliable at the baseline, the American claimed four consecutive points from 1-2 down, and after overcoming some late nerves, Kenin took the first set 7-6 despite being down a break twice.

World number seven Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic has been ruled out of the opening singles of the Fed Cup final against the United States due to illness on Friday.

The US, eyeing a record-extending 19th title, are missing Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams and Madison Keys. Should she play, and her team win the title, it would take her to joint third in the overall list of titles won, equalling Rosie Casals' six, and behind only Chris Evert and Billie Jean King. "The worst", said an emotional Siniakova. In Sunday's reverse singles, Kenin will go against Siniakova, and Riske will meet Strycova.

U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi has chose to bench 36th-ranked Danielle Collins and go with Riske, who was on the U.S. team that won the title past year.

But the Czechs enjoy home court advantage and will ride a 10-tie winning streak into the final, having not lost a home tie since falling to the usa 3-2 in the 2009 World Group semi-finals.

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The hosts are a win away from their sixth title in the last eight editions and their 11th overall, including five as the former Czechoslovakia.

Katerina Siniakova, the world number 31, will face 63rd-ranked Alison Riske in Saturday's second singles rubber.

But the 32-year-old Strycova called on all her experience, bringing the home crowd back into the match by racing ahead 3-0 in the second set and securing the set four games later with a big serve that Kenin returned high and long. "It's amusing because it's her (Kenin) first one, and this is my last one, so for me it was a lot of emotions". The Russian-born American making her Fed Cup debut kept piling up errors early into the second set with Siniakova taking a 3-0 lead.

Another mainstay on the Czech Fed Cup team in recent years, Lucie Safarova, announced on Saturday she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open because of health problems. "I'm so honored to have been part of that match, they really fought hard, the points were incredible, it's just something I never forget".

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