Czech Republic are in a commanding position to win a third Fed Cup title in four years after 2011 and 2012 when Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova both won in straight sets to put the hosts 2-0 up against Germany in Prague.
Petra Kvitova opened the bid for another victory against Andrea Petkovic in the first rubber at with almost 11.000 spectators fully packed O2-Arena. The world number 4 from Bilovec was understandably the favourite due to her two titles in Wimbledon and the fast indoor hard court, which she really seemed to enjoy. Germany’s third player, Julia Görges already criticized the surface inside the O2 during the draw ceremony at Prague’s town hall on Friday and said that it might not match the ITF rules. Kvitova capitalized on her chances, fired four aces, hit 25 winners and won 75 per cent of the points on her first service to seal victory in 67 minutes winning 6-2, 6-4.
“I think Petra started really really well into the match. She always hits very hard and she didn’t miss a ball. Especially in the beginning it was really tough. She was so aggressive on the return and put a lot of pressure on my serve, which wasn’t really bad but every time I didn’t hit the spot perfectly, she just went for her return and I was in trouble. This made the difference today,” Petkovic analysed afterwards. “Of course you’re always a bit nervous playing in the Fed Cup but actually I wasn’t too nervous it was quite ok,” the German told concerning nerves playing a role in the rubber.
“It was a very tough match and playing here in front of our home crowd in Prague is so special. I was so nervous. I really couldn’t breathe too much,” Kvitova said. “I just tried to play my game and what we were practicing all week long. I felt well prepared. At the end of the first set Andrea started to play better, I lost my serve and it was important to gain the break back immediately. I was looking for the moment when it became very close that I use my chance,” the Czech number one was happy.
In an all-leftie-affair, world number 10, Angelique Kerber, was the favourite in the second rubber against Lucie Safarova. Germany’s number one is currently ranked seven places ahead her opponent in the current WTA rankings and was unbeaten in this year’s Fed Cup with a record of four wins in four rubbers. Consequently, many people expected the encounter between the two to be tight but Safarova was big-hitting and Kerber was shaky on her serve hitting seven double faults. The 27-year-old Czech was supported by the crowd and emerged victorious winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in 88 minutes. ”I’m really happy! Beating a top-10 player here at home is amazing. It was really close. I concentrated on every point and I just believed in myself that I can do it. I remained confident to turn the match,” Safarova said after being a break down in both sets.
“I couldn’t ask for more. Straight sets twice. Good performance, great performance. I’m very happy with the way the girls played. I think they were better on the court and they really went for it. We still have one more point to get under our belt. It’s always the hardest one,” Czech’s team captain Petr Pala said.
Germany won the Fed Cup the last time in 1992, when team captain Barbara Rittner was a playing member of the team along with Steffi Graf, Anke Huber and Sabine Hack but gaining another trophy here in Prague is going to be a tough affair. No nation has ever come back from 0-2 down in a Fed Cup Final.