In a battle of “B” teams the Czech Republic clinched the Fed Cup 3-0 on Sunday in Prague over the United States.
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic closed out the match in the first singles on Sunday, saving two match points in defeating American teen Sofia Kenin 7-5, 5-7, 7-5.
For Kenin it was a difficult Fed Cup debut, losing a tight decider a day after falling in three sets on the opening day against Barbora Strycova. American Alison Riske also fell on day one to Siniakova in straight sets.
The Czech Republic improved to a perfect 6-0 in career finals.
The Czechs were 0-4 against the U.S. in Fed Cup finals since the country was created after the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
“It was an unbelievable match for me,” Siniakova said. “It was up and down, with nerves. I’m extremely happy that I won. I thank all who came for their support. It was felt.”
U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi, without her top U.S. players, had a team of newbies with only Riske holding previous Fed Cup experience.
“We didn’t get the result that we wanted but nobody can say we didn’t give all out there,” Rinaldi said afterwards. “That match today, both girls, both players were incredible. I’m so honored to have been part of that match, they really fought hard, the points were incredible, it’s just something I never forget.”
The 22-year-old Siniakova saved two match points when Kenin was serving for the match at 5-4.
“It was a long match, a lot of points, a lot of effort, long points,” Kenin said. “We fought hard till the end. It’s disappointing for me ’cause I had like two match points but couldn’t turn things around. But I fought my hardest and I did everything I could.”
Kenin hit 43 winners but also made 76 unforced errors to Siniakova’s 24 winners.
“It was horrible, the worst (moment),” Siniakova said about the match points she faced. “But it’s not the end until the final match point is converted.”
The U.S. was without four of their top five players while Czechs Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova bowed out at the last minute citing injury or illness.
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