Tennis

Fed Cup: Czechs rally to beat Spain after rain delay

Andrea Hlavackova Barbora Zahalavova Strycova
Andrea Hlavackova, left, and Barbora Zahalavova Strycova celebrate.
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SEVILLE, Spain (AP)

The Czech Republic reached the Fed Cup semifinals for a sixth straight year when it came from 2-1 down to beat host Spain 3-2 on Monday in their rain-affected matchup.

The Czechs, champions in 2011 and 2012, will host Italy in April, when Australia will welcome Germany.

Spain led 1-0 coming into Monday, having won the opening singles on Saturday.

Klara Zakopalova, down a set when rain stopped her singles on Sunday, finished off Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 first up on Monday but couldn't hold the momentum when she returned to the outdoor clay-court against Carla Suarez Navarro, who won her second singles 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Lucie Safarova, who was too ill on Friday to be picked to play, benefited from the extra day as she beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 to even the matchup and make the doubles the decider.

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Andrea Hlavackova, a first-time pair in the Fed Cup, clinched it for the Czechs when they won 7-6 (7), 6-3 over another team on debut, Suarez Navarro, who hadn't played cup doubles in six years, and Soler-Espinosa, playing her first cup doubles.

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