U.S. counting on debutants in Fed Cup title defence

Barbora Strycova

In the first two games, Czech player Barbora Strycova rallied to beat American Sofia Kenin 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 before her compatriot Katerina Siniakova outlasted Alison Riske 6-3, 7-6 (2).

A 4-1 deficit in the first set proved too much for Riske to recover from, and while she showed fight to break when her opponent was serving for the match in the second, the American fell 6-1 down in a terrible tie-break, Siniakova claiming victory with her second match point.

"I was trying. when I had a chance to be aggressive", said Siniakova, who won the French Open and Wimbledon doubles titles this season with her Czech teammate Barbora Krejcikova. "The worst", said an emotional Siniakova.

"It was an unbelievable match for me", Siniakova said.

The clash will begin with Kenin taking on Barbora Strycova before Riske faces Katerina Siniakova.

"It couldn't be better but it isn't finished yet so we need to be ready for tomorrow".

Playing in her last tie, the 32-year-old Strycova won her match with a backhand victor at the net on her first match point to improve to 11-7 in Fed Cup singles.


Four of the top 10 doubles players will ensure that, should the final go to deciding fifth rubber, the home nation will be in a very strong position.

"In the second set I got a lot of break opportunities but she just played too good so credit to her".

To win, the 18-time champion USA would have to become the first team to come back from 2-0 down in the final. The Czech squad has won 10 times, including five times as Czechoslovakia. It means a lot to me.

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. "For my Fed Cup debut, I was pretty nervous but I was able to handle it once I stepped on the court", Kenin said.

Petra Kvitova has been ruled out of the opening day of the Fed Cup final because of illness. "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".

After four of the top five US women in the WTA singles rankings - the Williams sisters, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys - chose to skip it, three players on the team made their Fed Cup debuts.

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