PRAGUE: Karolina Pliskova won her singles rubber and then teamed up with Barbora Strycova to take the decisive doubles and lead the Czech Republic to a successful defense of their Fed Cup title on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Pliskova and Strycova beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 at Prague’s hardcourt O2 Arena to hand the hosts their fourth trophy in five years.
The Czechs won their ninth title overall, including five as Czechoslovakia which went on to split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.
Russia have won four titles from 11 final ties, including those they played as the former Soviet Union.
“It’s the first experience for me in the Fed Cup so I’m really happy (about) how we made it and we both played really good,” said Pliskova, playing only her second Fed Cup tie.
“I’m speechless, it was unbelievable,” added Strycova.
Russian captain Anastasia Myskina, a former French Open champion, did not conceal her disappointment.
“We tried, we did our best, I’m proud of my girls, I think they played good,” she said.
World No.11 Pliskova was the star of the day after she saw off 28th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday’s second singles rubber.
In the day’s opener, Maria Sharapova, the world No.4, came back from a set down to edge sixth-ranked Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Propelled by Pliskova’s success in the singles, the Czech doubles pair started in high spirits but their early break was not enough as the Russians broke twice to take the first set.
But the hosts declined to bow out early and dominated the second set, despite a late break by the Russians.
They broke Vesnina’s serve in game one of the final set and then did it again six games later to lift the trophy.