Kvitova clinches Czech Republic's semifinal win over Italy

by: AP April 20, 2014

AP

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic—The Czech Republic has reached the Fed Cup final by defeating defending champion Italy after Petra Kvitova won the first reverse singles on Sunday.

Sixth-ranked Kvitova beat Roberta Vinci 6-3, 7-5 for an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the semifinals.

In the final doubles, Andrea Hlavackova teamed up with Klara Koukalova to overcome Camila Giorgi and Karin Knapp 6-2, 5-7, 11-9 to make it 4-0.

The Czechs face Germany in the final in November at home.

"It will be great to play the final at home," Kvitova said. "We have an excellent team, it's not just about one player."

It's the third final for the Czechs in four years after they claimed the Fed Cup title in 2011 and '12 and won nine of the last 10 Fed Cup ties, losing only to Italy in last year's semis.

Vinci replaced Sara Errani — who was originally named for the match — and had a 2-1 record against Kvitova after beating her twice last year on clay.

But on a fast indoor hard-court at the CEZ Arena, Kvitova sealed the victory on her second match point with an ace.

"It's an advantage for me that I've improved my serve," Kvitova said.

Vinci came back twice in the second set after losing her serve in the first and seventh games before the Czech converted her fourth break point to go 6-5 up before serving out the match.

At 3-3 in the opening set, Kvitova saved six break points before winning the game with two straight aces. She converted her first break point in the following game when the 20th-ranked Vinci double-faulted twice in a row and served the set out with another ace.

On Saturday, the Czechs took a commanding 2-0 lead in the series after Lucie Safarova upset Errani 6-4, 6-1, and Kvitova followed up with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Giorgi.

In the other semifinal, Germany beat Australia 3-1.

The Czechs beat Germany in their previous three encounters.

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