Sunday, April 22, 2012
Czech Republic, Serbia reach final
ESPN.com news services
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova used her powerful serve and forehand to clinch victory for Czech Republic over Italy in the Fed Cup semifinals Sunday.
The third-ranked Kvitova beat Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 7-6 (1) to give the Czechs an insurmountable 3-0 lead and wrap up the best-of-five series on an indoor hardcourt at the CEZ Arena.
The defending champion Czechs will host Serbia in November's final.
"I really wanted to be in the final again," Kvitova said. "It's unbelievable. It was an unbelievable feeling (to win)."
The Czechs beat Russia in last year's final with Kvitova winning both her singles matches.
Sara Errani defeated Andrea Hlavackova 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the second reverse singles later Sunday for Italy's first point, before Hlavackova teamed up with Lucie Hradecka to make it 4-1 after the final doubles against Errani and Flavia Pennetta. Pennetta had to retire at 5-6 because of a wrist injury.
Kvitova converted her second match point with a forehand winner to improve her Fed Cup singles record to 15-4. She has won her last 10 Fed Cup singles matches.
"It was important for me to win; it's a confidence boost," said Kvitova, who has played only three matches -- and lost two -- on the WTA Tour since she helped the Czechs beat Germany 4-1 in February.
In Saturday's opening singles, Lucie Safarova defeated Schiavone 7-6 (3), 6-1 before Kvitova beat Errani 6-4, 6-3.
Serbia completed a victory over Russia in the other semifinal Sunday.
Serbia 3, Russia 2
MOSCOW -- Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic won their reverse singles matches Sunday to put Serbia into the Fed Cup final for the first time with a 3-2 victory over Russia.
Jankovic defeated two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-4 to give Serbia an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the semifinal.
Ivanovic had put Serbia up 2-1 on the indoor clay court at the Megasport Arena, rallying to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the first reverse singles.
Serbia will face defending champion Czech Republic in the final in November.
Jankovic easily won the first set but was broken in her first service game in the second. She then rallied from 3-0 down, winning five consecutive games and closing out the victory on her first match point.
"It's a historic moment for us," Jankovic said. "I cannot even believe that we are in the final. We came a long way and I'm very happy we were able to win this match."
After Ivanovic dropped the first set, she won 10 consecutive games to go up 4-0 in the third.
"(Pavlyuchenkova) was playing really very, very well," Ivanovic said. "But I'm really happy I managed to get back in the match."
The two teams split the opening singles Saturday. Jankovic won the first point for Serbia, defeating Pavlyuchenkova, but Kuznetsova downed Ivanovic in the second match.
Pavlyuchenkova later teamed with Elena Vesnina to defeat the Serbian pair of Bojana Janovski and Aleksandra Krunic 6-4, 6-0 in the doubles match.
Serbia had reached the semifinals for the first time and, with the two former top-ranked players, was considered the favorite.
Russia, a four-time champion, had beaten Serbia in all three of their previous meetings, but was without its two top players: Maria Sharapova and Vera Zvonareva.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.