Prague, Nov 16 (IANS) The Czech Republic continued their dominance on Fed Cup women’s team tennis championship by beating Russia 3-2 in an enthralling final at the O2 Arena here.
This was the ninth title for the Czech who also recorded their fourth victory in five years — the last team to do that was Russia between 2004 to 2008. The hosts found their title defence tough as they had to come back from 1-2 down on the second and final day on Sunday in front of a packed home crowd.
Russia’s Maria Sharapova breezed past Petra Kvitova in the third tie. Sharapova was down by a set, but then she responded with a few brilliant groundstrokes to fight her way back in the contest, winning it 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“It’s never over for me until I play the last point,” the World No.4 was quoted as saying by the Fed Cup website.”I don’t care who I’m playing against. The team supported me so well today.”
“This is one of the few competitions where you’re not just playing for yourself and I really felt like I would look over to them and every time they were standing up. That’s the meaning of this event.”
Knowing she had to win to keep her country’s hopes of a comeback alive, out stepped Karolina Pliskova against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second singles match.
Plishova hammered in her serves and used her strong groundstrokes to skip past the challenge of Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-4. She then teamed up with Barbora Strycova in the decisive doubles. However, the hosts lost the first set and looked like giving up but they came back strong to register a thumping 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Strycova said: “We are feeling unbelievable, we can’t describe it. I’m speechless because this atmosphere playing at home in front of such a crowd is unbelievable.”
“I was believing that we could still do it (after going a set down) and believing in our game which we proved and then we did it at the end.”
“This crowd was like a fifth person in our team. We really enjoyed it and I would like to thank to them. They pushed us forward.”
Pliskova said: “I really enjoyed the whole week with the girls and even now this match was just an unbelievable feeling to play here in Prague and I’m just really happy that we have the trophy again.”