The Czech Republic’s stranglehold on the Fed Cup continues after the host team beat Serbia to win the competition for the second year in a row.
Lucie Safarova was the heroine this time, as her 6-1, 6-1 demolition of Jelena Jankovic gave the Czechs an unassailable 3-1 lead. The home crowd erupted in delight as the world number 17 sealed victory with a winning forehand.
“I played one of the best matches of my career,” said Safarova. “I desperately wanted to win and I’m really delighted. It’s fantastic to win at home.”
The one-sided scoreline was partly the result of Jankovic’s having suffered a back injury. The former world number one put up as much resistance as she could, but was ultimately unable to play her best tennis, and broke down in tears after the match.
Earlier on Sunday, Ana Ivanovic had kept Serbia’s hopes alive by defeating Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5. The inconsistent Serb was in fine form, and scored one of her most impressive wins in years against the 2011 Wimbledon champion.
Kvitova was also hampered by injury, however; she had to pull out of the WTA Championships in Istanbul two weeks ago after being hit by a virus, and she quickly ran out of energy against Ivanovic. Nevertheless, the Czech number one made a valuable contribution to her team, thanks to a straight sets defeat of Jankovic on Saturday to move ahead 2-0. Kvitova was determined to play a part in the Fed Cup final after a somewhat disappointing year, and was buoyed by memories of her country’s first victory last year.
Czech fans will now wait to see if their country’s Davis Cup team can emulate their female counterparts when they face Spain, also in Prague, later this month.