In Sports News this Monday: Plíšková steals show as Czech women win Fed Cup for fourth time in five years in front of home fans; Berdych loses WTA World Tour Finals opener to Federer; and Czechs beat Serbia in soccer friendly as Čech closes in on caps record.
The Czech women’s team have defended their Fed Cup title, lifting the trophy for the second time in succession in Prague on Sunday. The home team overcame Russia for a remarkable tally of four Fed Cups in five years. However, it was by no means plain sailing in a tie that was decided in the fifth and final rubber.
Russia’s strongest weapon was superstar Maria Sharapova, who in a rare Fed Cup appearance defeated Karolína Plíšková and Petra Kvitová to give the visitors a 2:1 lead.
But Plíšková, just a substitute last year, rose to the occasion, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-4 to keep the Czech Republic in it. The rangy 23-year-old then teamed up with Barbora Strycova to overcome Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina to send the 14,000 fans at Prague’s O2 Arena into raptures. It was the first time the Fed Cup had been decided in the final match since 2011, when the Czechs overcame the Russians in Moscow.
The Czechs’ non-playing captain Petr Pála praised Kvitová for her performance in defeat to Sharapova. And, speaking to the official Fed Cup website, he had special words of praise for world number 11 Plíšková, who capped the best season of her career so far with Sunday’s wins.
“I was confident about Karolina’s singles match. I was just hoping it wouldn’t be a really long match because I knew she had to go and play the doubles. So it was difficult but she put in an unbelievable show today.”
The heroine of the hour, Karolína Plíšková, agreed the Fed Cup win has been one of the highlights of her career so far in this interview with the Fed Cup website.
“Definitely it has been one of the biggest wins in my career. I’ve enjoyed the whole week with the girls. And even now, this match, it was an unbelievable feeling to play here in Prague. I’m just really happy that we have the trophy again.”
Tomáš Berdych has been defeated in his first outing at the ATP World Tour Finals. Maintaining an unhappy tradition of starting the elite season-ending tournament badly, the Czech lost 4-6 2-6 to Roger Federer in just 71 minutes on Sunday.
The Czech Republic’s footballers beat Serbia 4:1 in a friendly in Ostrava on Friday night, with the hosts’ goals coming from Tomáš Sivok, Tomáš Necid, Ladislav Krejčí and, making his debut for the national side, Ondřej Zahustel. The Czechs are in action again on Tuesday when they travel to Poland for a game that should see Petr Čech equal Karel Poborský’s record of 118 international caps.
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