Fed Cup finalists take on hockey

The Czech team took a 2-0 lead over the US team in the first day of women's tennis Fed Cup final, which took place on Saturday in O2 Arena, Prague.

But the 22-year-old Czech, who is the world number one for doubles alongside her teammate and compatriot Barbora Krejcikova, managed an extra break to take the set 7-5 as Kenin made 23 unforced errors.

It is an 11th overall title for the Czechs, five of which came as the former Czechoslovakia, a haul second only to the United States and their record of 18. The United States have lifted the trophy a record 18 times.

Despite that, she thinks the Czech team - strong favorites against a less experienced American squad -will feel the weight of expectation considering that they will have a partisan home crowd in attendance. No63 Alison Riske makes up the number: She has played just three Fed Cup rubbers, with her only win coming in singles against Andrea Petkovic in the 2017 quarter-finals.

But, propelled by the sold-out O2 Arena with 14,500 fans, the four-time Fed Cup victor regained composure in the second to sweep aside the Russian-born Kenin, who is still in search of her maiden WTA singles title. A home player made a great recovery in the second set, fending off all six break points she faced in three straight games and earning breaks in games two and six before closing it with a service victor at 5-1 to gain the momentum and gain an even bigger support from the stands.

"For me it was a lot of emotions", Strycova said on court after the win. It means a lot to me.

"I am just terribly happy I won".

Kenin admitted she was "a little bit overwhelmed" by her debut.

Kvitova returned to the team this year after recovering from injuries she suffered during a knife attack at her home in December 2016.

Siniakova cruised through the first set of her encounter with Riske, forging ahead through a pair of breaks after indulging in groundstrokes and long rallies. She and Riske battled back and forth then and the American pushed the set to a tiebreak, where Siniakova took control. "It couldn't be better", Siniakova said.

"Actually, after the first point I was thinking, you know, you've played so many tie-breaks this year and you won nearly all". "We'll see what happens - we're prepared, we're ready to go".

The U.S. team, though, had to rely on three Fed Cup newcomers as they were missing Serena and Venus Williams, holders of a combined 30 grand slam singles titles, along with world number six Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, semi-finalist at both Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows.

  • Angelo Rivera