Czechs shatter Swiss dreams of Fed Cup final

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 18 Apr, 2016 Updated Mon 18 Apr 2016 08:24 CEST
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Switzerland's dream of making its first Fed Cup final since 1998 was ended by the Czech Republic on Sunday in the deciding doubles match in Lucerne.

Karolina Pliskova and Lucie Hradecka secured the Czech Republic a fifth Fed Cup final appearance in six years with victory over Viktorija Golubic and Martina Hingis 6-2, 6-2, giving the Czechs an overall 3-2 win.
The semi-final in Lucerne, level at 1-1 overnight, went down to the wire after Pliskova's comfortable win over Timea Bacsinszky before a stunning comeback from Viktorija Golubic against Barbora Strycova.
Sunday's matches followed an equally thrilling showdown on Saturday, with Strycova geting the Czech Republic off to a winning start by demolishing the Swiss world number 17 Timea Bacsinszky 6-0, 6-2 in 65 minutes.
It was a first Fed Cup win for 33rd-ranked Strycova who had lost all three of her previous singles ties in the competition.
It left the Swiss team facing a tough battle, but Golubic – ranked just 129 in the world – then levelled with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of world number 18 Pliskova to leave the tie wide open at 1-1 ahead of Sunday's concluding reverse singles and doubles.

Speaking after the overall defeat, Swiss team captain Heinz Günthardt, a former coach of German champ Steffi Graf, told Le Matin "I am very proud of my team."

"Everyone gave as much as they could on court, and that's what I wanted above all."

The hosts had suffered a blow prior to the tie as Swiss number one Belinda Bencic pulled out with a back injury, but Günthardt said the weekend's events showed that everyone in the team was capable of stepping up.

"Everyone in this team can play in singles and doubles. That makes us very difficult to beat. We have also seen that each one is capable of raising their game when one of their teammates doesn't manage to play their best tennis."

"I am certainly disappointed by our defeat, but I experienced something extraordinary this weekend. I've seen a lot of things in the world of tennis but this was really special," he added.
Defending champions the Czechs will face France in the November 12th-13th final after the French team fought back from behind to defeat the Netherlands.



AFP/The Local 2016/04/18 08:24

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