The United States defeated Czech Republic to qualify for the Fed Cup final for the fist time since 2010.
About the tie...
The two most successful nations in Fed Cup history collide this weekend on the outdoor clay courts of the Saddlebrook Resort in Florida as the United States and Czech Republic battle for a place in the 2017 final.
Czech Republic are modern-day Fed Cup juggernauts, winning the last three competitions and only losing one tie since 2011, while the USA are traditional powerhouses - having claimed the silverware on 17 occasions - and are determined to return to what would be a first final since 2010.
World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova is missing in a big blow for the reigning champions, but her twin sister Kristyna remains, alongside Katerina Siniakova, Denisa Allertova and recent WTA Biel champion, teenage sensation Marketa Vondrousova.
USA will field a more experienced line-up consisting of Australian Open semi-finalist CoCo Vandeweghe, last year’s French Open quarter-finalist Shelby Rogers, the ever-improving Lauren Davis and veteran doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Unbeaten in the last four years, can Czech Republic advance to yet another Fed Cup final? Or can the USA register the upset and earn the right to battle for a first Fed Cup title since 2000? It promises to be a thrilling Fed Cup semi-final in Florida this weekend!
United States vs Czech Republic Fed Cup match schedule
The United states have qualified for the Fed Cup final after securing a hard-fought 3-2 victory over three-time defending champions, Czech Republic.
Latest United States vs Czech Republic Fed Cup results
USA 3-2 Czech Republic
The United States and the Czech Republic split Saturday's rubbers, and it was tight again on Sunday, but it was the Americans, led by CoCo Vandeweghe who had the final say in the decisive doubles’ rubber to reach a first Fed Cup final since 2010.
Vandeweghe has not won a tour-level match since her sensational run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open, but she is quickly turning into a real Fed Cup asset for her country. Despite her lean spell on the WTA Tour, Vandeweghe scored two victories as the USA beat Germany in the first round, and she was at it again in Florida as the States ended the Czech's three-year reign as champions.
The first match of the day pitted Vandeweghe against Katerina Siniakova- two ladies that had won their singles' matches on Saturday, but it was the American who emerged on top to put the Americans back in the ascendancy.
The pivotal moment of a tight first set came in the ninth game when Vandeweghe broke to 15, and that began a run of eight straight games as the American ran away with the second set. The 6-4 6-0 victory was completed in an hour and 22 minutes.
Czech Republic stuck to teenage sensation, Marketa Vondrousova for the day’s second rubber, and the Biel champion repaid the faith with her first Fed Cup singles victory in only her second match in the competition. Vondrousova scored an impressive 6-2 7-5 victory over Lauren Davis, who had stepped in to replace Shelby Rogers from Saturday’s line-up.
It came down to a decisive doubles’ rubber, and the Americans, with the luxury of the top-ranked player in the world, Bethanie Mattek-Sands along with Vandeweghe, who herself is no doubles’ slouch dominated the Czech pair of Siniakova and Krystina Pliskova to emerge with a 6-2 6-3 victory.
The USA will play Belarus in November’s final.
CoCo Vandeweghe, Lauren Davis, Shelby Rogers, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Kathy Rinaldi-Stunkel (captain)
Team Czech Republic
Katerina Siniakova, Kristyna Pliskova, Denisa Allertova, Marketa Vondrousova, Petr Pala (captain)
A significantly weakened Czech Republic team will attempt to propel the three-time defending champions into yet another Fed Cup final in Florida against the USA. Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova, Barbora Strycova and Lucie Safarova are all missing, meaning 20-year-old Katerina Siniakova - the current World No. 38 and Shenzhen champion - will spearhead the side.
Karolina’s twin sister Kristyna Pliskova has been steadily climbing up the rankings over the last six months or so and if her game is firing, she’s a formidable force on her day. Denisa Allertova is a solid player, but the wildcard could come in the form of 17-year-old Marketa Vondrousova, who is full of confidence after coming through qualifying in Biel to win her maiden WTA title. Winning eight consecutive matches in just your second WTA main draw to win your first title is a remarkable achievement, so don’t be surprised if Vondrousova is thrown into the deep end this weekend.
Meanwhile, USA’s No. 1 CoCo Vandeweghe has been in poor form since making her first grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open, where she demolished Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza en route. However Vandeweghe hasn’t won a tour-level match since January - although she did win both her singles matches for USA in their World Group win over Germany in Hawaii in February.
Vandeweghe will be supported by Lauren Davis, who has enjoyed a career-best start to a season with a title in Auckland and back-to-back quarter-final finishes in Doha and Dubai during the fortnight-long Middle East swing in February. Rogers will also be a dangerous figure after making her breakthrough on clay by reaching the Roland Garros quarter-finals last year.
Fed Cup format
Fed Cup ties are played over the best of five rubbers over two days. Two singles rubbers are played on Saturday, followed by the reverse singles rubbers on Sunday with the tie going to a deciding doubles rubber if necessary.
Player nominations can be changed up until an hour before the start of play.
One nation hosts the tie, with the choice of ground decided by where the two competing teams played last time. United States host Czech Republic on the outdoor clay courts of the Saddlebrook Resort in Florida.
The winner of United States vs Czech Republic will go on to face either Belarus or Switzerland in the 2017 Fed Cup final in November.
United States vs Czech Republic: The history
Head to Head: United States lead 9-2
USA have dominated their previous Fed Cup clashes with Czech Republic, leading 9-2 and winning their last seven showdowns dating back to 1985.
However it must be said that the two nations haven’t met since Czech Republic became the dominant forces they are today, with their last contest coming back in 2009 - also a semi-final. Bethanie Mattek-Sands was the only player from this upcoming tie competing back then - and her presence proved pivotal as she teamed with Liezel Huber to win the live doubles rubber to hand USA a 3-2 victory. USA would ultimately fall to Italy in the final.
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