Kvitova, Safarova give Czechs lead over Australia at Fed Cup

Associated Press
2/9/2013 12:12:21 PM
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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- Defending champion Czech Republic took a commanding 2-0 lead over Australia in their Fed Cup first-round series after Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova won their opening singles matches.

Kvitova overcame an early scare to beat Jarmila Gajdosova 7-6 (2), 6-3 before Safarova upset Sam Stosur 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4).

The Czechs are one win away from the semifinals against Italy or the United States.

Kvitova struggled with her serve and was down a break in the first set before recovering and dominating the tiebreaker. She then broke her 168th-ranked opponent four times in the second set to make up for losing her own serve twice, and converted her first match point when Gajdosova's backhand sailed long.

"Nobody expected it would be easy," said Kvitova, who has won just three of her seven matches this year on the WTA tour. "I struggle with my serve more than a year ago."

Later, Stosur wasted a 4-1 lead and failed to serve it out at 5-3, squandering three set points. Safarova saved another two set points in the tiebreaker before converting her first set point with a service winner.

Stosur double faulted 10 times in the set that took 1 hour, 23 minutes.

The Australian again failed to serve out the second set at 6-5 and Safarova converted her second match point.

In Sunday's reverse singles, Kvitova first plays Stosur in a matchup of two top 10 players, then Safarova takes on Gajdosova.

In the doubles, Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka will play the Australian pair of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, who reached the final at the Australian Open.

Petra Kvitova (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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