OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC: The Czech Republic has cruised into the final of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas after Petra Kvitova gave them an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie against the defending champion Italy.
Petra Kvitova ensured her nation will have a chance of winning its eighth Fed Cup crown despite a patchy display against the Italian veteran, Roberta Vinci. Italy’s captain Corrado Barazzutti replaced his number one player Sara Errani, who struggled with the pace of the court at times on the opening day.
Kvitova ground out the win 63 75 against a fired-up opponent who sensed an opportunity to bring Italy back in to the tie. Vinci traded heavy groundstrokes with the Czech who made 38 unforced errors. Spurred on by the colourful make-shift musical band in the stands though, Kvitova repeatedly dug herself out of trouble with her booming serve.
“It was an unbelievable atmosphere but it was a very tough match for me against Roberta who is a very different player to Camila [Giorgi]. She returned very well and my serve didn't help me as much as yesterday. It was difficult for me but I won the important points,” Kvitova said.
The Czech captain Petr Pala led his players to a dancing circle on the court before acknowledging the vocal home fans with a team bow. He said the victory gives his team the opportunity to relive great memories of their 2012 Fed Cup victory over Serbia.
“It feels great, you never have enough. Really looking forward. We have another home final and we still have memories from that final because it was a really great experience for all of us with a sold out crowd. We are really looking forward but now we want to enjoy this moment,” Pala said.
Vinci revealed Baruzzutti held a team-meeting on Saturday night to announce the switch. She admitted to being disappointed with the result but not her own performance.
“Of course I was really happy… I am happy about today. Of course we lost but I played a good game so I am really happy and focussed to try and do this for the next game in the tournament,” Vinci said.
The Czech pairing of Andrea Hlavackova and Klara Koukalova compounded the misery for the Italians beating Camila Giorgi and Karin Knapp in the dead doubles rubber.
Italian captain Corrado Barazzutti said the hard court surface made a big difference in the tie, with his players unable to cope with the pace against the Czech team.
“We are not of course happy because we lost 4-0 but anyway we tried hard, the players tried to play their best. We lost against the best team in the world. If I have to analyse the match, the Czech players played better. And we now wait for the next round.”
The Czech Republic will host Germany, semifinal conquerors of Australia, in the Fed Cup Final in November.
Petra Kvitova (CZE) - 20/04/2014
Roberta Vinci (ITA) - 20/04/2014
Captain Petr Pala (CZE) - 20/04/2014
Captain Corrado Barazzutti (ITA) - 20/04/2014