A blockbuster Fed Cup final was booked over the weekend when the defending-champion Americans went into France and took away a win on the red clay, and a dominant Czech Republic team did the same in Germany.
Now both teams will look forward to the November final when the U.S. squad could potentially pull a Williams sister or two into their line-up.
CZECH REPUBLIC d. GERMANY 4-1
Even on the German red clay in Stuttgart, the Czech juggernaut team of multi-Slam winner Petra Kvitova and former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova were too much for the German squad, which also featured a former No. 1 in Angie Kerber.
Kvitova and Pliskova rolled the Czechs to a 2-0 lead after day one with straight-set wins over Julia Goerges and Kerber. Goerges kept Germany in it after an inspired 6-4, 6-2 win over Pliskova to start the final day, but Kvitova put a stop to the comeback and sealed the tie by dominating Kerber 6-2, 6-2.
The Czechs are into their sixth Fed Cup final in the last eight years, winning in 2011-12 and 2014-16.
USA d. FRANCE 3-1
Sloane Stephens was the rock for the U.S. squad over the weekend, providing two singles victories as America’s usual standard-bearer CoCo Vandeweghe stumbled during the weekend.
Stephens beat French No. 2 Pauline Parmentier 7-6(3), 7-5 to start the proceedings, but after Vandeweghe started like a freight train against French No. 1 Kristina Mladenovic, the Frenchwoman turned the tables for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to even the tie at 1-1.
On Sunday Mladenovic’s comeback efforts were for naught against Stephens, who rolled the Frenchwoman 6-2, 6-0. U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi then opted for Madison Keys in the final singles, and Keys delivered, clinching 7-6(4), 6-4 on her least-favorite surface against Parmentier and sending the defending-champion Americans into the final. “I had to conquer my Fed Cup losing streak here and get another good win,” Stephens said after serving up a bagel in her singles. “You never anticipate a scoreline like the way it turned out but it was really solid.”
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