CZECH REPUBLIC d. SPAIN 3-1
At Czech Republic, hard indoor
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza beat Barbora Strycova in three, and Czech Karolina Pliskova defeated Lara Arruabarrena in straights to even the tie after the first day. On Day 2 the Czechs took control as Pliskova rolled Muguruza 6-2, 6-2 and Strycova beat Arruabarrena 6-4, 6-4 to clinch it.
It is the ninth straight year into the semis for the Czechs. The Czechs will next travel to the U.S. for the semifinals.
USA d. GERMANY 3-0
At USA, hard outdoor
The U.S. “B” team cruises past the German “B” team as world No. 1 Serena Williams, world No. 2 Angie Kerber and Venus Williams say no to competing for their countries. American Alison Riske beats Andrea Petkovic in the first match, and American CoCo Vandeweghe tops Julia Goerges in the second match. In the stupid Fed Cup format where players play back-to-back singles and the doubles doesn’t matter, Vandeweghe beats Petkovic 6-0 in the third to seal it for the U.S.
It’s the first Fed Cup semifinal in seven years for the U.S. In the odd deciding match, Vandeweghe was down a set and a break suffering from heat stroke, but dug out the second set then won the third set 6-0. “In tennis it can change so quickly,” Petkovic said. “And then she was serving so well in the third set. I never found my rhythm and it was difficult for me to grind my way back into the third set.” The U.S. will next host the juggernaut Czech Republic. The U.S. also played the German national anthem from Nazi times during the tie. Doh!
BELARUS d. NETHERLANDS 4-1
At Belarus, hard indoor
This tie was a shit show from the start, with Belarus advancing without new mother and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka. Belarus sported no players in the Top 100 before teen Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek in three, then Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens barely stopped unheralded Aryna Sabalenka in three to even the tie at 1-1.
On Sunday Sasnovich surprised Bertens in straights, then Sabalenka defeated Krajicek in straights to clinch the unlikely result. Belarus in the semifinals will host Switzerland.
SWITZERLAND d. FRANCE 3-1
At Switzerland, indoor hard
The strong Swiss team of Timea Bacsinszky and Belinda Bencic moved into the semis with a convincing win over France, setting up a meeting with the upstart Belarus.
The tie started out at 1-1 when Bacsinszky defeated Alize Cornet in straights and France’s Kristna Mladenovic defeated Bencic in straights. On Sunday the Swiss put the hammer down when Bacsinszky edged Mladenovic 7-5 in the third, and Bencic clinched it with a straight-set win over Paula Parmentier. The Swiss in the semis will visit Belarus.
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