Czechs open Fed Cup defence with lead in Canada
Karolina Pliskova won her Fed Cup debut Saturday and the defending champions Czech Republic grabbed a 2-0 lead on hosts Canada in their opening-round Fed Cup tie.
Ottawa: Karolina Pliskova won her Fed Cup debut Saturday and the defending champions Czech Republic grabbed a 2-0 lead on hosts Canada in their opening-round Fed Cup tie.
Pliskova, ranked 22nd, fired nine aces in defeating 230th-ranked Canadian teen Francoise Abanda 6-2, 6-4 while Tereza Smitkova, ranked 62nd, downed Canada`s 185th-ranked Gabriela Dabrowski 6-1, 6-2 in only 59 minutes.
Smitkova swatted 22 winners past Dabrowski at Laval University in pushing the visitors to the brink of advancing to the semi-finals.
The Czechs will face either Italy or France in the semi-finals in April, with Italy up 2-0 in that matchup on Genoa clay.
Pliskova had four double faults in the final game and needed four match points to win, denying Abanda`s only break chance with an ace and dispatching the Canadian in only 72 minutes and just two days after her 18th birthday.
Sunday`s schedule sends Pliskova against Dabrowski in the opener with Smitkova facing Abanda in the second match and the doubles sending Dabrowski and Sharon Fischman against the Czech duo of Denisa Allertova and Lucie Hradecka.
Australian Open quarter-finalist Eugenie Bouchard of Canada pulled out of the tie.
The world number seven had an impressive Melbourne run before falling in straight sets to Maria Sharapova, who also beat her in the French Open semi-finals last year.
The Czechs are missing Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the world number four.