France will hold the home court advantage in Strasbourg, but the Czech Republic will bring the firepower this weekend when the Fed Cup final is held on indoor hardcourt on Nov. 12-13.
The Czechs, led by former Grand Slam champ Petra Kvitova and US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, have won the Fed Cup in four of the last five years.
Kvitova said this year’s final will be a little more intimate than the last two 10,000-plus fans packed into her home Prague arena.
“It’s a little bit different,” Kvitova said. “It’s like a little more [loud], and in France it should be around 6,000, 7,000 people coming.”
The resurgent Pliskova last weekend won the WTA’s Elite Trophy event in Zhuhai.
France will be the underdog, countering with world No. 23 Caroline Garcia, and outside Top-40 players Kristina Mladenovic, Alize Cornet and Pauline Parmentier, but the Czechs aren’t sitting back.
“To win we need to play better than well,” said Czech captain Petr Pala. “We need the quality and form of our players to be there. If all our girls play well, and the way they are capable of, then it will give us a chance.”
The Czechs have nine Fed Cup titles, second behind the United State’s 17. They are looking to become the first country to win three straight titles since the reign of Spain behind Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez in 1993-95. France last won 13 years ago behind former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo for its second overall title.
France’s Garcia and Mladenovic, who this year won the French Open title, will be formidable if the tie comes down to the final doubles.
“It’s going to be a very interesting and exciting tie,” Mladenovic said. “Just thinking about it…I’m already having goosebumps…It’s always better to play home.”
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