Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Kenin to open Fed Cup final for US against Strycova

Kenin to open Fed Cup final for US against Strycova

Katerina Siniakova beat Sofia Kenin in a marathon three-set battle on Sunday to lead the Czech Republic to a sixth Fed Cup title in eight years after defeating the United States in the final.

With Kathy Rinaldi in her first season as the USA captain a year ago, the Americans won a record 18th title, beating Belarus 3-2 in the final. She evened the match with a forehand victor past Siniakova for set point.

The inexperienced US team are without Serena and Venus Williams as well as Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, while the hosts have Karolina Pliskova injured. Should she play, and her team win the title, it would take her to joint third in the overall list of titles won, equalling Rosie Casals' six, and behind only Chris Evert and Billie Jean King. Only Alison Riske has participated before, in three ties.

Yet they still remain heavy favourites against a US team featuring three debutants, including Kenin, because their best players are all unavailable.

The Czech player won 72 per cent of points from her first serve, including five aces, on her way to a 6-3, 7-6 victory.

Sofia Kenin of the US. 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 amusing because it is her first (Fed Cup tie) and it is my last one", Strycova said.

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

"I fought every ball and I'm so happy that I could win today in front of such a crowd".

"It was an incredible game for me, up and down, lots of nerves", Siniakova said.

"In the second set, I started to move much better and I also served much better".

The competition's two most successful nations were meeting in a Fed Cup final for the first time in more than three decades.

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. The Russian-born American making her Fed Cup debut kept piling up errors early into the second set with Siniakova taking a 3-0 lead.

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