Czech Republic powers to 2-0 lead over Italy

by: AP April 19, 2014

AP

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic—The Czech Republic took a commanding 2-0 lead over defending champion Italy in their Fed Cup semifinal Saturday after Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova won the opening singles matches in straight sets.

Safarova gave the Czechs a 1-0 lead by upsetting Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1, and Kvitova used her powerful serve and forehand to follow up with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Camila Giorgi to put the hosts one win away from the final against Australia or Germany.

The reverse singles and doubles are planned for Sunday.

The sixth-ranked Kvitova dominated the hard-hitting Giorgi and didn't face a break point until in the final game when she saved two and needed four match points to seal the victory.

"I played a solid game and my serve helped me a great deal," said Kvitova, who hit 11 aces.

Kvitova broke the 54th-ranked Giorgi in the opening game and went on to serve out the first set with an ace.

The match had to be interrupted for 20 minutes in the first set with Kvitova leading 4-3 due to a problem with the lights in the CEZ Arena.

Giorgi double-faulted twice in the opening game of the second set and produced another double-fault to go 5-2 down.

Earlier, the 26th-ranked Safarova converted her first match point with a return winner to complete the victory over her 11th-ranked opponent.

"It's an important victory for our team," said Safarova, who improved to 2-1 against Errani.

The Czech played aggressively from the start on the fast indoor hard-court at the CEZ Arena, hitting 33 winners to Errani's four.

The opening set saw both players losing their serve twice in the first five games. Errani then double-faulted in the ninth game to lose her serve for the third time and Safarova clinched the set with a service winner.

"I was nervous at the beginning and made some mistakes," Safarova said. "But then I managed to focus on my game. I went aggressively for the points."

Errani continued in the same fashion in the final set, losing her three service games.

More Stories

New roof at U.S. Open, but no rain expected for first week

The approximately $150 million project features an air management system and sliding shutters that seal the stadium.

“Old" Grandstand to be used at U.S. Open for one more year, as Court 10 deemed unplayable

The USTA said Sunday that it hopes to have Court 10 ready for play in the next few days.

Three to See, 2016 U.S. Open Day 1: Isner vs. Tiafoe; Sock vs. Fritz; Djokovic vs. Janowicz

Two intriguing all-American match-ups, and an early test for the top seed, give Day 1 an important feel.