Fed Cup: Barbora Strycova and Katerina Siniakova move Czechs in front

Barbora Strycova

World doubles number one Katerina Siniakova and veteran Barbora Strycova powered the Czech Republic to the verge of another Fed Cup title in the final against defending champions the United States on Saturday.

Barbora Strycova had put the Czechs 1-0 up with a 6-7 (5) 6-1 6-4 win over Fed Cup newcomer Sofia Kenin in the opening rubber.

An eventful opener set the tone as the two players combined for seven breaks of serve, Siniakova finally taking it in the 12th game on her third set-point opportunity.

US Danielle Rose Collins, right, talks to her teammate Sofia Kenin, left, during a training session prior to the final match of the Fed Cup between Czech Republic and United States of America in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

No team has ever come back from an 0-2 deficit in a Fed Cup final and the Czechs are unbeaten at home in their last 10 ties, dating back to 2009.

However, with the finishing line in sight, the world number 31 stuttered. The Czech dominated it, converting the second match point when Riske sent a backhand wide.

"We can only be aggressive and go after it tomorrow", Riske said.

The final this year features the two most successful teams in the tournament's history, with the usa lifting the trophy 18 times. No63 Alison Riske makes up the number: She has played just three Fed Cup rubbers, with her only win coming in singles against Andrea Petkovic in the 2017 quarter-finals.

The Czechs are hoping for a sixth title in eight years. The US are missing Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Madison Keys, while the Czechs are without Karolina Pliskova.

"For me it was a lot of emotions".

The American teenager gave her best to earn her first Fed Cup win but she had no strength for one last push in the deciding set, handing Strycova her 22nd Fed Cup triumph (she made a debut when Sofia was three-year-old). "The worst", said an emotional Siniakova.

The 32-year-old Czech player was more dominant at the net and her stronger serve helped see off the young American.

"I fought every ball and I'm so happy that I could win today in front of such a crowd".

Strycova, who was tearful during the national anthems, said: "It's amusing because it's her first tie and my last one".

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