Fed Cup | The World Group semi-finals get underway
Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova gave the Czech Republic a 2-0 lead over Germany in their Fed Cup World Group semi-final as they dominated their hosts in their opening rubbers on Saturday.
Petra Kvitova defeated Julia Goerges 6-3 6-2 before Karolina Pliskova followed up with a 7-5 6-3 win over Angelique Kerber at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart.
No one expected it Karolina Pliskova
In the opening rubber Goerges broke Kvitova in her second service game of the match but the Czech quickly retaliated by reeling off the final five games to take the first set.
The double Wimbledon champion won 16 of the 18 points from 1-1 in the second to storm into to a 5-1 lead, serving out successfully to love after just 63-minutes,
In the second rubber Pliskova and Kerber battled it out for the first 11 games without conceding a break but after 50-minutes, Pliskova brought up the first on set point which she duly converted.
The Czech star did not face a break point in the entire match and sealed the second set with her only break in the sixth game.
“No one expected it,” Pliskova said at the end of the day after the German hosts failed to win a set with the German captain Jens Gerlach declaring: “We will have to gather together.”
The Czech Republic have won five of the last seven Fed Cup titles and are bidding to win their first title since 2016.
In the second semi-final, France and the USA are locked at 1-all following their opening day’s play in Aix-en Provence with Kristina Mladenovic earning the crucial point for France by beating CoCo Vandeweghe 1-6 6-3 6-2 to end the American’s 13-rubber winning streak in Fed Cup play.
In the opening singles match Sloane Stephens completed a 7-6(3) 7-5 win over Pauline Parmentier in the Arena du Pays d’Aix.
Mladenovic was stunned in the first by Vandeweghe but recovered and from 3-3 in the second and then reeled off six straight games to take control and level the tie.
Earlier Parmentier built a surprising 5–2 lead in the opening set against Stephens but the American saved five set points in the 10th game and cruised through the tie-break and though Parmentier held her own in the second, it was Stephens who clinched the opening point for the visitors with a brutal forehand down the line.