Czech Republic players lift the cup after their victory against France in Strasbourg.
Czech Republic players lift the cup after their victory against France in Strasbourg. Jean-Francois Badias

That's Czech mate in battle for Fed Cup

TENNIS: The Czech Republic has claimed its fifth Fed Cup title in six years after coming back from being 3-2 down to beat France in the final in Strasbourg.

Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Strycova defeated French Open champions Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia 7-5 7-5 in the all-important doubles clash after Strycova had levelled the tie at 2-all with a 6-2 7-6 win over Alize Cornet.

Having now won 10 titles overall, the country secured five as Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and '80s.

Only the United States have won more, with 17 since the competition was created in 1963.

The Czechs also became the first team to win three successive Fed Cup titles since Spain achieved the feat from 1993-95.

"It's a wonderful day. It was not easy that's why we are so happy,” Pliskov said.

The Czechs were forced to claim their latest triumph without a major contribution from their best player, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who withdrew from her reverse singles match after losing her first to Caroline Garcia.

"The girls never gave up, like the French, but there is only one winner,” said Czech captain Petr Pala, who becomes the first captain to win five Fed Cup titles.


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