Garcia puts France ahead after Pliskova's epic show

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Garcia puts France ahead after Pliskovas epic show
Caroline Garcia

Strasbourg - France level score1-1 against the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup final

By Agencies

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Published: Sun 13 Nov 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 14 Nov 2016, 1:03 AM

Caroline Garcia put on another aggressive display to floor world number six Karolina Pliskova 6-3 3-6 6-3 and give France a 2-1 lead over defending champions Czech Republic in the Fed Cup final on Sunday.
Garcia, who beat Petra Kvitova on Saturday to level for 1-1 after Pliskova had put the visitors ahead with an epic win against Kristina Mladenovic, prevailed on her first match point to put France within one point of their first title since 2003. Caroline Garcia defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 to bring France level at 1-1 against the Czech Republic after the first day of the Fed Cup final on Saturday.
Yesterday, Pliskova beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 4-6, 16-14 in an epic rubber which lasted 12 minutes short of four hours as the Czechs, chasing a fifth title in six years, got off to a sensational start.
US Open runner-up Pliskova, the world number six, claimed victory having been 5-2 up in the decider and holding two match points at 9-8 in a match which shifted momentum at breath-taking speed.
Mladenovic, the world number 42 and a close friend of her Czech rival since the pair were 10 years old, even served for the match herself at 12-11 but was unable to press home her advantage, with her challenge eventually undone by cramping. The last set was the longest to be contested in a final in the history of the tournament."It was my longest ever match, but I still feel pretty fresh," said 24-year-old Pliskova. "She served really well so I had to wait for my chances. She found the big serve when she needed it."
Mladenovic, who along with Garcia was recently reinstated in the French team following a suspension for bitter criticism of the country's tennis federation at the Olympics, said her match had been draining."I have played long matches, but nothing compared to this," she said.
"We played the equivalent of a men's four- or five-set match. It was very tough emotionally as well as physically." Kvitova, the world number 11, faced 23rd-ranked Garcia fresh from her title run at the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in China which gave the Czech a 19th career crown.
She was favourite to win a third meeting in four with Garcia but the French player made the most of an error-strewn performance by the Czech left-hander to claim an upset win on a second match point. It was Garcia's fourth win in five Fed Cup singles rubbers this season as France stayed on course to claim a third title after triumphs in 1997 and 2003. Kvitova endured a trademark roller-coaster day, coming back from 2-4 in the opening set to lead 5-4 before shipping the ensuing tiebreak.

Karolina Pliskova beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 4-6, 16-14 in an epic rubber which lasted 12 minutes short of four hours. — Reuters
Karolina Pliskova beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 4-6, 16-14 in an epic rubber which lasted 12 minutes short of four hours. — Reuters


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