Fed Cup roundup: Kvitova headlines
Originally published on: 06/02/12 13:42
The first round of the 2012 Fed Cup kicked off in style over the weekend with flag-waving patriotic fans enjoying live doubles rubbers, history being made and the obligatory Schiavone epic.
A Petra Kvitova-inspired Czech team saw off Germany 4-1 in Stuttgart. The Wimbledon champion followed up team mate Iveta Benesova’s victory over Sabine Lisicki by beating Julia Goerges 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 to put the defending champions 2-0 up.
Kvitova then extended her unbeaten streak indoors to 27 matches when she got the better of Lisicki in the reverse singles 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-1 to give the Czechs an unassailable 3-0 lead.
The Czech Republic will now host Italy in the next round after the three-time champions overcame the Ukraine at home.
Sara Errani, coming off the back of her surprise run at the Australian Open, put the Italians 1-0 up with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko before Lesia Tsurenko shocked the home crowd by beating world No.11 Francesca Schiavone 6-1, 6-2.
Schiavone’s miserable weekend looked to be coming to an end when she trailed Bondarenko 7-6, 5-1 in the reverse singles but the former Roland Garros champion came fighting back to take the second set 7-5 before closing out the third 6-4.
The Ukrainians were level once more when Errani was forced to retire with a knee injury while losing to world No.121 Tsurenko but when Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta, ranked No.15 and 12 in doubles respectively, were partnered together for the deciding rubber the home side were firm favourites for the win.
Despite a second set wobble, the Italians clinched victory 7-5, 0-6, 6-1, while Vinci stretched her Fed Cup record in doubles to 17-0.
In the other half of the draw, Serbia created history by winning their first ever top-tier Fed Cup tie against a young Belgian team in Charleroi.
Yanina Wickmayer’s back-to-back singles victories weren’t enough to give her side victory as Serbia fought back from 2-1 down and an injury to star player Jelena Jankovic to take the tie 3-2.
They will now face a strong Russian side in Moscow after last year’s finalists made hard work of their 3-2 win against Spain. Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova put the home side 2-0 up on day one after comfortable straight set wins over Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Carla Suarez Navarro respectively.
But when a cold ruled Australian Open finalist Sharapova out of the reverse singles, Spain took full advantage when Suarez Navarro thrashed Nadia Petrova 6-0, 6-3.
Kuznetsova then took to the court looking to clinch the tie but it didn’t come easy for the two-time Grand Slam champion who let slip a 6-2, 4-1 lead before eventually winning 6-3 in the third.
The semi-finals of the Fed Cup World Group will take place from April 21-22.
Fed Cup World Group first round results:
Belgium 2 – Serbia 3 (Spiroudome, Charleroi, Belgium)
K.Flipkens lst to J.Jankovic 7-5, 7-5
Y.Wickmayer bt. B.Jovanovski 6-4, 6-4
Y.Wickmayer bt A.Krunic 6-1, 6-0
K.Flipkens lst to B.Jovanovski 6-4, 6-2
Wickmayer/Van Uytvanck lst to Jovanosvki/Krunic 7-6, 4-6, 6-1
Russia 3 – Spain 2 (Olympic Stadium, Moscow)
M.Sharapova bt S.Soler-Espinosa 6-2, 6-1
S.Kuznetsova bt C.Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-1
N.Petrova lst to C.Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-3
S.Kuznetsova bt S.Soler-Espinosa 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Kuznetsova/Petrova lst to Llagostera Vives/Parra-Santonja 6-3, ret.
Italy 3 – Ukraine 2 (Lauretana Forum, Biella, Italy)
S.Errani bt K.Bondarenko 6-2. 6-3
F.Schiavone lst to L.Tsurenko 6-1, 6-2
F.Schiavone bt Bondarenko 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4
S.Errani lst to L.Tsurenko 6-1, 3-0 ret
Penneta/Vinci bt Tsurenko/Savchuk 7-5, 0-6, 6-1
Germany 1 – Czech Republic 4 (Porsche Arena, Stuttgart)
S.Lisicki lst to I.Benesova 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
J.Goerges lst to P.Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 10-8
S.Lisicki lst to P.Kvitova 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-1
A.Kerber bt L.Hradecka 6-4, 6-4
Goerges/Groenefeld lst to Benesova/Zahlavova-Strycova 6-3, 7-6(4)