Despite absences from some of the country’s top players, the Czech Republic defeated the USA in dramatic fashion yesterday to clinch the 2018 Fed Cup, the world’s premiere competition in women’s tennis.
The victory gives the Czech Republic six Fed Cup titles over the past eight years, and 11 in the history of the 55-year-old event, trailing only the United States at 18.
It was also the Czech Republic’s first victory over the USA in Fed Cup action since the country separated from Slovakia in 1993 following four defeats.
It was 22-year-old Kateřina Siniaková, ranked 31st in singles play by the WTA, who clinched the title for the Czechs with a narrow win over the USA’s Sofia Kenin yesterday at Prague’s O2 Arena.
In a match that lasted nearly four hours, Siniaková fought back against two match points to eventually win 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, giving the Czech Republic a decisive 3-0 lead over the USA after victories from Siniaková and Barbora Strýcová on Saturday.
“It was an unbelievable match for me,” an emotional Siniakova said after the victory.
“It was up and down, with nerves. I’m extremely happy that I won. I thank all who came for their support. It was felt.”
The 2018 Czech team was left without two of its best players: WTA #7 ranked Petra Kvitová was ruled out due to illness, and #8 ranked Karolína Plíšková was absent due to injury.
The US team, too, was minus many of its stars: the Williams sisters, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys all skipped this year’s tournament.
Earlier this year, Siniaková and Barbora Krejčíková won the women’s doubles competition at Wimbledon. The duo are the WTA’s #1 ranked women’s doubles team.