Czech Republic beats Slovakia 3-2 in Fed Cup
The Czech Republic reached its third consecutive Fed Cup semifinal after Australian Open quarterfinalist Petra Kvitova secured the decisive win in the first reverse singles match for a 3-2 victory over Slovakia on Sunday.
The 18th-ranked Kvitova defeated Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 6-2 on hard courts at Sibamac Arena to give the Czechs an unbeatable 3-0 lead.
Jana Cepelova got the first point for Slovakia in the second, meaningless reverse singles, when Lucie Safarova retired due to a muscle injury at 4-6, 7-6 (5). The 17-year-old Cepelova, making her Fed Cup debut, then teamed up with Magdalena Rybarikova to beat Kveta Peschke and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (4).
The Czech Republic will face Belgium in the semifinals in April.
Kvitova got off to a perfect start, breaking Hantuchova twice to jump to a commanding 5-1 lead in the first set. Hantuchova, a former top-10 player, fought back briefly before Kvitova converted her sixth set point in the 10th game.
''I had as good a start as yesterday and got her under pressure,'' said Kvitova, who beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-3 in the opening singles on Saturday.
In the second set Sunday, Kvitova again cruised to a 4-0 lead and converted her first match point with an ace.
''It was one of my best performances in the Fed Cup,'' she said. ''We came here in great shape while (Hantuchova) is still not in her best form.''
Hantuchova has only recently recovered from an Achilles' tendon injury.
''I lack confidence,'' Hantuchova said. ''It's a question of time. I have to play more.''
Slovakia, which won the Fed Cup in 2002, has lost all four encounters against the Czech Republic.
The two countries formed one state - Czechoslovakia - until 1993.