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Germany, Czech Republic, France, and U.S. Advance To Fed Cup Tennis Semifinals

Serena Williams of the US in doubles action with her sister Venus Williams of the US against Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands during a Fed Cup World Group first round women’s tennis match between the United States and the Netherlands at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina, USA, 11 February 2018. EPA-EFE/ERIK S. LESSER

 

 

By: Thomas Cluck

 

With national pride and representation in the air with the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic games underway, many of the stars of women’s tennis came out in full-force to represent their countries in Fed Cup action. With ties across the globe for the weekend in World Group and World Group II action, some ties went the distance with dramatic matches and comebacks while others saw teams with too much depth dominate their opponents.

 

In the World Group, Germany, the Czech Republic, France, and the US all booked their spots in April’s Fed Cup semifinals with strong performances from all four teams.

 

For Germany, the talent-rich squad saw the B team come up big without the likes of Angelique Kerber, Julia Goerges, or Sabine Lisicki in action as they defeated last year’s finalists Belarus 3-2 in a dramatic tie. Day one saw young German Antonia Lottner come up big with a hard-fought win over Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich to level the tie. Lottner couldn’t make it two wins on the second day of action but Tatjana Maria fought past Vera Lapko before Maria and Anna-Lena Groenefeld were the heroes for Germany, edging out the defending runner ups 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 in the decisive fifth-rubber doubles.

 

The Germans will face Fed Cup stalwarts the Czech Republic after the Czech squad dominated Switzerland 3-1 in Prague. Petra Kvitova, fresh off a blistering title run last week in St. Petersburg, secured two wins for the Czechs over Viktorija Golubic and Belinda Bencic with Barbora Strycova’s straight-set win over Bencic in between Kvitova’s two bringing the Czechs to an easy win before the dead rubber doubles went the way of the Swiss.

 

Another dramatic comeback came from France as Kristina Mladenovic’s heroics led the 2016 finalists past Belgium 3-2. Mladenovic provided all three wins for the French squad, defeating Elise Mertens and Kirsten Flipkens in the singles before edging out the Belgians as part of the doubles team with Amandine Hesse as well to help France battle past a talented Belgian team and into the semifinals.

 

In the semifinals France will square off against defending champions from the US as the Americans dominated the Netherlands 3-1 in Asheville, North Carolina. Venus Williams was rock-solid all weekend for the US, securing two straight-set wins over Aranxta Rus and Richel Hogenkamp to help the host team to the victory. Coco Vandeweghe also played a big part in the US’ efforts as she had to overcome Hogenkamp in a tight three-setter to help the US route the Dutch before a dead rubber doubles saw the return of Serena Williams to competitive action alongside sister Venus, ultimately falling to the Dutch team of Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs.

 

In World Group II action, Slovakia dominated Russia 4-1, Australia fought past a feisty Ukrainian team 3-2, Romania eased past Canada 3-1, and Italy edged out Spain 3-2 to advance to the World Group Playoffs for a shot at next year’s World Group.

 

Fed Cup action continues in April with Germany battling the Czech Republic and France up against the U.S. for spots in the Fed Cup finals later this year.

Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova celebrates after defeating Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in their singles match of the Tennis Fed Cup World Group first round tie between the Czech Republic and Switzerland in Prague, Czech Republic, 11 February 2018. EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK

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