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Czech Republic takes 2-1 lead over US in Fed Cup

Czech Republic takes 2-1 lead over US in Fed Cup

Lucie Safarova beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-1 Sunday to give the Czech Republic a 2-1 lead over the United States in the Fed Cup semifinals.
The Czech Republic needs just one more win in the best-of-five series to reach its first Fed Cup final since the country came into existence after the break up of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
"It would be fantastic to reach the final," Safarova said. "We need three points and I believe that we'll make it."
Czechoslovakia won five Fed Cup titles, the last in 1988.
Safarova broke Mattek-Sands in the opening game of the first set and again in the ninth when she converted her second set point on the indoor hard court in Rondo Arena.
"I was trying to build on my good start and put her under pressure," Safarova said. "I was playing very aggressive. That worked well throughout the match.
"I felt good on the serve, especially in the second set."
In the second set, Mattek-Sands, who was making her Fed Cup debut, was broken in the second game, allowing Safarova to jump to a 3-0 lead. Safarova broke her again for a 5-1 lead and served out the match to love to improve to 4-4 in Fed Cup singles.
"She made some good shots, the winners, and I made too many mistakes," the 39th-ranked Mattek-Sands said. "I'm very honored to play for the USA. It was a great experience."
The 22-year-old Safarova, ranked 47th, replaced Iveta Benesova, who was clearly outplayed by United States rookie Alexa Glatch in the opening singles on Saturday.
Safarova said she learned from captain Petr Pala she would be playing on Saturday.
"The pressure was huge. It's the semifinals and the match was tied 1-1," Safarova said. "But I was trying to fully focus on my play. I got ready and did my best."
She said she felt pain in her shoulder before the match but "doctors did a good job and I felt fine."
Petra Kvitova was scheduled to take on Glatch in the remaining reverse singles, which would be followed by the doubles.
In Saturday's opening singles, Kvitova put the host team ahead by beating Mattek-Sands 6-3, 7-6 (2). Glatch leveled by defeating Benesova 6-1, 6-2.
The winner of the best-of-five series will face Russia or Italy in the Nov. 7-8 final.
The U.S. has won a record 17 Fed Cup titles but its last came in 2000.


Updated : 2021-10-17 17:08 GMT+08:00