Czechs 2-0 up on United States in Fed Cup final

Czechs 2-0 up on United States in Fed Cup final

The Czech Republic took a 2-0 lead over defending champions the United States as the Fed Cup Final got underway at Prague's O2 Arena.

The clash will begin with Kenin taking on Barbora Strycova before Riske faces Katerina Siniakova.

In doubles, the last match of the final, Riske and Danielle Collins are scheduled to meet No. 1-ranked pair Barbora Krejcikova and Siniakova on the indoor hard-court.

It was the ideal start for the Czechs, winners of five of the last seven Fed Cup titles and unbeaten in 10 home ties since 2009.

Playing in her last tie, the 32-year-old Strycova won her match with a backhand victor at the net on her first match point to improve to 11-7 in Fed Cup singles. "But it's not the end until the final match point is converted".

Their opening day victories ensured the Czech team will take a 2-0 lead into Sunday as they seek a sixth Fed Cup triumph since 2011 against the only the country to have won more titles.

Riske is the only player on the usa team who has previously played in the Fed Cup.

"That match today, both girls, both players were incredible", she said.

"Of course I expect a tough match", added Siniakova, who has a 2-1 head-to-head record with Riske while Strycova and Kenin have never met on court. There were several obvious changes she made to her tactics, most notably being the number of times she moves up towards the net which kept Kenin at bay and prevented the American from playing her top-notch tennis.

A battling Kenin claimed a dramatic and gruelling opening set that contained four breaks of serve in 64 minutes, a run of four straight points in the tie-break proving crucial.

The inexperienced United States of America team are without Serena and Venus Williams as well as Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, while the hosts have Karolina Pliskova injured. "It's amusing because it's her (Kenin) first one, and this is my last one, so for me it was a lot of emotions".

Leading the U.S. campaign, then, will be No36 Danielle Collins, one of three debutantes with No52 Sofia Kenin and No15 Nicole Melichar.

At the time of writing, Petra Kvitova was forced out of pre-event training and media commitments with a virus, and her absence would be a tough blow for a team already without world No8, Karolina Pliskova, who is out with a calf injury. "The atmosphere was just incredible".

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