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Monday, April 23, 2018

Petra Kvitova outplays Angelique Kerber to send Czech Republic into Fed Cup final

Petra Kvitova put Czech Republic into the Fed Cup final with a convincing victory over Angelique Kerber of Germany which eventually gave the 10-time champions a 4-1 semi-final victory in Stuttgart on Sunday.
Kvitova, twice Wimbledon champion, struck 24 winners in a 6-2 6-2 victory over Kerber as the Czechs booked their place in the final for the sixth time in eight years.
“I knew I had to start very strong today and continue that throughout the game,” the 28-year-old said after recording her 30th Fed Cup victory.
“From the beginning of the match I knew I had all the weapons.”
Earlier in the day, German number one Julia Goerges had dragged her country back into the tie with a 6-4 6-2 win over Karolina Pliskova.
Goerges needed only 27 minutes to claim the opening set before she took advantage of the first two break opportunities in the second to clinch the victory in under an hour.
But former world number one Kerber struggled to cope with Kvitova’s powerful groundstrokes and was broken five times as the Czechs returned to the final after a one-year absence.
Barbora Strycova and Katerina Siniakova clinched the doubles dead rubber after Goerges, paired with Anna-Lena Groenefeld, retired injured at the end of the first set, which the Germans lost 7-5.
The Czechs are undefeated in their previous five final appearances and will face either France or the U.S. in the final on Nov. 10-11.
Stephens gives 2-1 lead to US Fed Cup team against France
Sloane Stephens gave a 2-1 lead to defending champion United States over France in their Fed Cup semifinal on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Kristina Mladenovic.
The U.S. Open champion delivered a ruthless display against the 20th-ranked Mladenovic and prevailed in 54 minutes.
Stephens hit 16 winners and converted five of six break chances at the 6,700-capacity Arena Pays d’Aix on indoor clay.
Stephens also won her first singles match on Saturday.
Madison Keys replaced CoCo Vandeveghe in the second reverse singles and can now seal her team’s qualification for the final if she beats Pauline Parmentier. The Americans hold an 11-2 record against the French, who won their most recent tie in 2014.
The Czech Republic qualified for the final by defeating Germany in Stuttgart.
Japan wins decisive doubles to beat Britain 3-2
Miyu Kato and Makoto Ninomiya beat Johanna Konta and Heather Watson 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in doubles on Sunday to give Japan a 3-2 win over Britain in their Fed Cup World Group playoff.
Konta beat Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-3 in the first reverse singles to give Britain a 2-1 lead after the two countries split the opening singles matches on Saturday.
Kurumi Nara leveled the tie with a hard-fought 7-6 (7), 6-4 win over Watson in Sunday’s second reverse singles before Kato and Ninomiya rallied to secure the win for the hosts.
Britain had won both of the previous two meetings between the teams – in Johannesburg in 1972 and Nagoya in 1985.
With the win, Japan secured a place in World Group II for the first time since 2014.
Keys sends US into second straight Fed Cup final
Defending champion United States will play in a second consecutive Fed Cup final after defeating France on Sunday.
Madison Keys secured the decisive point for the visiting team by beating Pauline Parmentier 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the second reverse singles. Keys’ victory gave the defending champions an unassailable 3-1 lead over France in their semifinal.
The 13th-ranked Keys, a late replacement for CoCo Vandeweghe, came back from a 4-1 deficit in the first set and made the decisive break in the ninth game of the second set with two consecutive winners.
“The girls did so well, both today and yesterday. We are very fortunate to have such a strong group and now we are looking forward to what is going to be a great final,” U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi said.
Parmentier fought hard until the end and saved two set points in the opener, but ultimately surrendered to Keys’ deep groundstrokes. The Frenchwoman had the chance to break back while trailing 5-4 in the second set but Keys used her big serve to win the next three points and seal the match.
The U.S. will play the Czech Republic in the final.
Earlier, Sloane Stephens had given a 2-1 lead to the U.S. with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of Kristina Mladenovic.
The U.S. Open champion delivered a ruthless display against the 20th-ranked Mladenovic and prevailed in 54 minutes. Stephens hit 16 winners and converted five of six break chances at the 6,700-capacity Arena Pays d’Aix on indoor clay.
“That was a really good one. You never anticipate a scoreline like the way it turned out but it was really solid,” Stephens said. She also won her first singles match on Saturday.
The Americans extended their winning record to 12-2 against the French.
The Czech Republic qualified for the final by defeating Germany 4-1 in Stuttgart.

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