Reuters: The Czech Republic further established themselves as the dominant force in women’s team tennis as they claimed a 3-2 comeback win against hosts France to capture their fifth Fed Cup title in six years on Sunday, and 10th overall.
Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Strycova downed Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia 7-5 7-5 in the doubles to hand the visitors the decisive point.
The nation won five titles as Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 80s before dominating the women’s team competition in recent years.
Only the US have won more titles, having prevailed 17 times since the competition was created in 1963.
Against the pair who won this year’s French Open, Strycova and Pliskova returned well and made the most of Mladenovic’s below-par performance to hand the Czech Republic victory.
Petra Kvitova, twice a champion at Wimbledon, had been expected to spearhead the Czechs’ charge towards victory but after her unexpected defeat in her opening singles, she was a no show on Sunday.
“Kvitova could not play today, we did not have many options, but Strycova played really well,” said Czech captain Petr Pala, who helped his side recover from a 2-1 deficit to become the first captain to win five Fed Cup titles.
“The girls never gave up, like the French, but there is only one winner.”
Rather than dwelling on Kvitova’s absence, her Czech team mates simply focused on the task ahead and their determination paid off as they became the first team to win three successive Fed Cup titles since Spain achieved the feat from 1993-95.
“It’s a wonderful day. It was not easy that’s why we are so happy,” said Pliskova.
“The secret was to go out there and fight for every point. We fought until the end,” added Strycova.