This weekend the Federation Cup final was played between Czech Republic and Russia.
Czech Republic reached the final defeating Canada 4-0 in the first round and France 3-1 in the semifinals. It’s the defending champion nation.
Russia reached the final defeating Poland 4-0 in the first round and Germany 3-2 in the semifinals. It’s back in the final after the one lost in 2013.
Petra Kvitova – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
The beginning of the match is tense and both players make many mistakes. In the third game it’s only thanks to such errors that Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova breaks Petra Kvitova (foto ©Carine06) and again in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead. However, after limiting her errors for some games in the next game the Russian offers a total of three break points but wins her service game. The Czech can’t find the measure of her shots and in the eighth game Pavlyuchenkova closes the first set 6-2.
In the second set, Petra Kvitova starts playing at levels that at least come close to her standards and in the second game at the seventh break point she breaks Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Czech calms down and the Russian starts feeling the pressure. As a result, with a double fault on the break point the Russian loses her service again in the fourth game going down 4-0. The Czech has two break points that are also set points in the sixth game but this time the Russian manages to hold serve. In the next game Kvitova closes the second set 6-1.
At the beginning of the third set Petra Kvitova is more confident and reactive and in the first game breaks Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who makes a double fault on a break point. The Russian tries to fight back but struggles, with the result that she loses her service game again in the fifth game and with two more double faults in the seventh game, giving Kvitova the third set 6-1, the match and a 1-0 lead for Czech Republic in the final.
Karolina Pliskova – Maria Sharapova
The match begins with great intensity and this isn’t a surprise considering the characteristics of the two players. Maria Sharapova struggles with her serve and in the third game offers Karolina Pliskova a break point but manages to hold serve. In the next game the Russian is the one having two break points but the Czech manages to hold serve as well. The Russian breaks the Czech in the sixth game, thanks to a double fault on the break point. However, in the next game the Russian practically throws away her serve with three double faults. The third consecutive break gives Sharapova the chance to go 5-3 before closing the first set 6-3.
At the beginning of the second set Karolina Pliskova finds some good returns and in the second game breaks Maria Sharapova but gets broken back in the next game. The Russian takes a 3-2 lead breaking the Czech agains. In the eighth game the Czech has three consecutive break points but the Russian holds serve. In the ninth game the Russian has two break points that are also match points but the Czech holds serve. In the next game Sharapova closes the second set 6-4 conquering the match and tieing the final on 1-1.
Petra Kvitova – Maria Sharapova
Today Petra Kvitova starts the match very aggressive with her returns and breaks Maria Sharapova in the first game. The Czech has a break point in the third game but the Russian wins her service game. The Russian struggles against one of the very few players who can outpower her playing at a faster pace but resists. Kvitova, however, puts a lot of pressure on her and in the ninth game breaks her again to close the first set 6-3.
In the second set Maria Sharapova reacts and in the first game has a total of two break points but Petra Kvitova manages to hold serve. In the second game the Czech has a total of four break points but the Russian holds serve as well. In the fifth game the Russian breaks her opponent for the first time but gets broken back in the next game. In the seventh game Sharapova has two more break points but the Czech cancels them with two extraordinary passing shots down the line on both sides of the court and holds serve. In the ninth game Sharapova takes advantage of two consecutive double faults by her opponent and breaks her then closes the second set 6-4.
The third set is balanced until the fifth game, when Maria Sharapova breaks Petra Kvitova. The Czech suddenly loses the measure of her shots but that’s a consequence of the tension resulting from the situation. Thanks to a double fault on the break point in the seventh game Sharapova breaks her again then closes the third set 6-2, winning the match and giving Russia a 2-1 lead in the final.
Karolina Pliskova – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has two consecutive break points in the third game but Karolina Pliskova manages to hold serve. In the sixth game the Czech has a total of two break points but the Russian holds serve as well. In the eighth game Pliskova breaks her opponent, serves for the set, offers a break point but cancels it and closes the first set 6-3.
In the second set Karolina Pliskova breaks Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first game also thanks to a double fault on the break point by the Russian but gets broken back in the next game, also with a double fault on a break point. There’s a lot of tension and consequently a number of errors for a quality of play that is not altogether exceptional. In the eighth game Pavlyuchenkova has a total of two break points but Pliskova holds serve, in the next breaks her opponent, serves for the match, offers a break point but cancels it and closes the second set 6-4 winning the match and tieing the final on 2-2.
Karolina Pliskova / Barbora Strycova –
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova / Elena Vesnina
In the second game Czech Republic breaks Russia with Elena Vesnina serving but get broken back in the next game with Barbora Strycova serving. In the ninth game Russia break the opposing team, this time with Karolina Pliskova serving, then close the first set 6-4.
In the second set the Russians have a total of two break points in the first game but Karolina Pliskova manages to hold serve and in the next game the Czechs break their opponents with Elena Vesnina serving. In the third game the Russians have a break point but Barbora Strycova manages to hold serve. On 4-1 the Czechs break the Russians with Elena Vesnina serving, serve for the set, can’t exploit two set points and end up getting broken with Strycova serving. In the ninth game Czech Republic close the second set 6-3.
In the third set the Czech team break the Russians with Elena Vesnina serving in the first game. The tension becomes strong and the players make several mistakes. In the sixth game the Russians have a break point but Karolina Pliskova manages to hold serve for the Czechs. In the seventh game the Czech team break the Russians again, with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova serving, then close the third set 6-2 conquering the match and the decisive point to win the Federation Cup.
For Russia, there were doubts on Maria Sharapova, not for her skills but for her position within the team. Instead, Sharapova won her two matches while the others weren’t up to the task. There will certainly be criticism on the captain Anastasia Myskina, in particular her choice of Pavlyuchenkova, who lost two singles matches and a double match. Actually they went close to the victory but the double players lacked something.
Czech Republic has won its fourth Fed Cup in five years but this time the single players had ups and downs. In the end it took the double with a Strycova who put all her energy and probably that was decisive. If Karolina Pliskova improves the team can try to win the title for several years.