Top-ranked Czech tennis star Petra Kvitová was out of action for Sunday’s decisive Fed Cup finale, but her teammates came through to give the Czech Republic their 10th win in the premier international tournament in women’s tennis.
After home country France’s Caroline Garcia handed Kvitová an unexpected loss earlier in the tournament, the Czech star withdrew from the tournament with a stress fracture in her foot.
Garcia also topped Karolína Plíšková in singles action after the Czech had beat her teammate Kristina Mladenovic, giving France a 2-1 edge heading into the final day of play.
But Kvitová’s last-minute replacement Barbora Strýcová topped Alizé Cornet, herself a substitute for Mladenovic, 6-2, 7-6, setting up a decisive doubles match to cap the tournament on Sunday afternoon.
In doubles action, Strýcová and Plíšková topped Garcia and Mladenovic 7-5, 7-5 to give the Czech team a comeback victory that Strýcová called “a fairy tale.”
The win makes the Czech team the first since Spain from 1993-5 to win three straight Fed Cup titles, and gives the country their fifth title in the past six years. The country’s 10 Fed Cup titles are second only to the United States, with 17.
Czech captain Petr Pála has led his team to their past five victories, making him the winningest captain in Fed Cup history.
“I’m very proud,” he told reporters after the match.
“It was an unbelievable weekend of tennis. We were a little bit more lucky than the French but they put up a stunning performance.”