Published: Tue, November 13, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Strycova, Siniakova put Czechs on top against US

Strycova, Siniakova put Czechs on top against US

The United States Fed Cup Team scored at least one win in Prague by beating the Czech Republic 5-3.in hockey. But Kenin, who underwent treatment on her left thigh, came back and took a 5-4 lead before earning two match points.

Siniakova had a more straightforward victory as she beat Riske by 6-3 7-6 (7-2). "It couldn't be better", Siniakova said.

Four of the top 10 doubles players will ensure that, should the final go to deciding fifth rubber, the home nation will be in a very strong position.

U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi said on wtatennis.com: "We came here expecting their best players to play, so we were preparing for everyone".

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"It was just a day of missed opportunities in my opinion. Anything can happen in the Fed Cup and tomorrow's another day".

The U.S.is the most successful country in the global team competition and won its 18th Fed Cup title a year ago with Rinaldi in her first season as the captain. But it could be the singles rubbers that determine the result, and fortunately Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Strycova are also ranked 31 and 33 respectively in singles. "But it's not the end until the final match point is converted". Should she play, and her team win the title, it would take her to joint third in the overall list of titles won, equalling Rosie Casals' six, and behind only Chris Evert and Billie Jean King. "I was enjoying the atmosphere and everything".

Riske, the only player on the USA team with Fed Cup experience, said all the pressure was on the hosts.

The US are missing Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Madison Keys, while the Czechs are without Karolina Pliskova and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who has ended up on the bench with a bad cold.

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In 12 head-to-head meetings, the US have won 10, including the last eight.

The Czechs are hoping for a sixth title in eight years.

Strycova and Fed Cup debutant Kenin earned two breaks each, with the more aggressive United States teenager taking the set in a tie-break.

· Kenin was part of the American team that defeated Slovakia to win the Junior Fed Cup title in 2014, while Strycova, who was part of the senior Czech team's victory in 2015 and 2016, won the Junior title in 2001. Serving for the win at 5-4, Strycova sealed the deal with a backhand volley victor to deliver the first point for the Czech Republic.

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