OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC: An electrifying start for Czech Republic gave them a commanding 2-0 lead over the defending Fed Cup by BNP Paribas champions Italy – even with a power cut at the Cez Arena in Ostrava delaying their progress.
Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova claimed the two points on the opening day of the semifinal with each of them winning in straight set matches.
The Czech captain, Petr Pala was incredibly pleased with the day’s work but says he is not counting on the overall victory just yet.
“It was a very good day for us but we have to look for another day like this tomorrow. Very proud of the girl’s performance they played really well and I’m really glad that it all went in two sets and in our favour”
“I know it’s going to be tough tomorrow so I am not going to be sleeping as well as you think,” he added.
Safarova got the first point on the board with a ruthless one hour and 11 minute performance over the Italian No. 1, Sara Errani 64 61.
The almost flawless Safarova gave the vocal home crowd every reason to cheer, bang drums and blow plastic horns after almost every point. The chair umpire, Alison Hughes even had to resort to some finger waving at repeat offenders to keep the match on track.
Safarova was far from disturbed by the noise. “It was a great match and I played so well, especially in the second set. The crowd is amazing and I love to play at home”.
The bubble of Safarova on court contrasted with a more reflective Errani who struggled to explain her lack-lustre showing.
“It was a very difficult match, especially on this surface. It’s not easy for me, but I tried to be a bit more aggressive but it was really difficult. We have to fight for a point and we will see,” Errani said.
Kvitova strolled on to the court shortly after Safarova had ignited the crowd and if it wasn’t for a freak storm which cut the power to the Arena, the match would have been over quicker than the one hour and 15 minutes it took to secure the point.
Kvitova was back to her best after a break from the tour – and just as well too. Her childhood coach, her dad, was watching from the stands with a keen eye.
“It's pressure every time my parents come, he was my coach until I was 16 so for him it’s pretty tough and for me it is not easy. I am just really glad my serve was great today and I played a good match,” Kvitova said.
The Italian captain, Corrado Barazzutti now has the job of motivating his team overnight and recover his own emotions.
“I don’t feel very well, but we have to recognise that the Czech players played really well. They played a great match and it was a difficult match. I am disappointed. But my players never give up and we have another day tomorrow and we are ready,” Barazzutti said.
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Petra Kvitova (CZE) - 19/04/2014
Lucie Safarova (CZE) - 19/04/2014
Sara Errani (ITA) - 19/04/2014
Captain Petr Pala (CZE) - 19/04/2014
Captain Corrado Barazzutti (ITA) - 19/04/2014