Czech Republic defend Fed Cup title with win over Russia

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Football News

The Czech Republic successfully defended their Fed Cup title after a marathon, nail-biting final match in Prague.

Maria Sharapova put Russia 2-1 up with a 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova in the day's opening encounter but Karolina Pliskova ensured the final would be decided by the doubles after a 6-3 6-4 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina won the first set to put Russia in the driving seat but Pliskova and Barbora Strycova fought back for the hosts to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 in two hours and nine minutes for a fourth Czech win in five years.

It was the first time since 2011, when the Czechs defeated Russia in Moscow, the final had gone down to the last match.

Strycova admits home advantage played a significant part when they fell behind in the winner-takes-all decider.

"I was believing we could still do it and we did it at the end but this crowd was unbelievable. They pushed us forward," she told Eurosport.

Captain Petr Pala paid tribute to Pliskova after a particularly draining day for the 23-year-old.

"The way Karolina handled it in singles and doubles was phenomenal," he said.

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