Czech Petra Kvitova and American rookie Alexa Glatch upset higher-ranked opponents on day one of the Fed Cup semifinals in the Czech Republic to knot the tie at 1-1.
The 19-year-old Glatch recorded a 6-1, 6-2, victory over world No. 29 Iveta Benesova to even the tie after Czech Petra Kvitova overcame Top 40-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S. 6-3, 7-6(2).
Mattek-Sands looked to be leading the match into a third set after breaking to lead 5-3 in the second, but a slew of nervous-looking errors led to another break, then a loss in the tiebreak.
With her team down 0-1, Glatch looked unperturbed by her surroundings in her Fed Cup debut, steamrolling Benesova in front of the Czech’s home crowd.
“It was quite an experience out here,” Glatch told reporters. “I served very well and used my slice pretty effectively so those two things were big keys in the match I think. I just tried not to think about the pressure and I’m just happy we could get a win for our team.”
U.S. captain Mary Jo Fernandez was all smiles after Glatch finished up in under an hour, with the first-year captain looking for players to replace the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, who no longer show an interest in representing the U.S.
“I’m really proud of Alexa, she played extremely well,” Fernandez said. “In the first match Bethanie played well and had some chances but her opponent was just too good and really played well so I’m so happy that Alexa’s come through with a win here. Your first Fed Cup match being a teenager is not easy and she handled the occasion really well.”
In Sunday’s singles Glatch will take on Kvitova, and Mattek-Sands will face Benesova. The final doubles match is penciled in with competitors Mattek-Sands and Liezel Huber for the U.S. against Benesova and Kveta Peschke for the Czech Republic.
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