Fed Cup final: Czechs take 2-0 lead over United States

Alison Riske attending the Fed Cup draw ceremony

Fed Cup final: Czech Rep go 2-0 up against United States

The United States have lifted the trophy a record 18 times.

The Czechs were already without the injured Karolina Pliskova and were further weakened when the teams for the opening singles rubbers did not include Kvitova due to illness, the world number seven hoping to recover in time for Sunday's action. Should she play, and her team win the title, it would take her to joint third in the overall list of titles won, equalling Rosie Casals' six, and behind only Chris Evert and Billie Jean King.

Alison Riske of the US.

The USA can take comfort in their record against their opponents, having not lost to the Czechs in eight meetings dating back to 1985, while they are on a seven-match winning streak after beating Belarus in the final a year ago.

They remain heavy favourites, even without their leading duo, against a USA team featuring three debutants, including Kenin.

With the Fed Cup crown on the line, Siniakova won an epic 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 marathon over Kenin to clinch the tie. With credits to both players, we could not have asked for a better start to the final as Strycova and Kenin showcased a world-class display of counterpunching and handsome tennis.

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Earlier, Indian bowlers pinned Pakistan down for most part of their innings before allowing them to wriggle out for 133 for 7. India had little difficulty in gunning down the modest target of 134 with six balls to spare, reaching 137 for 3 in 19 overs.

But the 32-year-old Strycova called on all her experience, bringing the home crowd back into the match by racing ahead 3-0 in the second set and securing the set four games later with a big serve that Kenin returned high and long.

Ultimately, it was Strycova who showed some great mental toughness to survive the two-hour, 43-minute thriller in her first meeting against the American youngster.

"For me it was a lot of emotions".

The U.S.is the most successful country in the worldwide team competition and won its 18th Fed Cup title previous year with Rinaldi in her first season as the captain. They traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the second set and again at 5-5, with Siniakova missing a chance to cross the finish line on own serve in game 12. In Sunday's reverse singles, Kenin will go against Siniakova, and Riske will meet Strycova.

U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi said it was a day of missed opportunities for her squad.

But, propelled by the sold-out O2 Arena with 14,500 fans, the four-time Fed Cup victor regained composure in the second to sweep aside the Russian-born Kenin, who is still in search of her maiden WTA singles title.

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