By Niall Clarke
- Petra Kvitova defeats Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova In three sets
- Maria Sharapova levels the tie with a straight sets win over Karolina Pliskova
- Sharapova vs Kvitova, Pliskova vs Pavlyuchenkova and doubles still to play on Sunday.
Prague, Czech Republic- Russia’s Maria Sharapova levelled the tie against Czech Republic with a straight sets win over Karolina Pliskova, after Petra Kvitova was victorious earlier in the day against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the Fed Cup final.
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World number four Sharapova came through 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and thirty minutes to leave the tie dead even heading into the final day.
The Russian hit nine double faults, but was able to break the big serve of Pliskova twice in each set to secure a straight sets win. The five time grand slam champion hit 28 winners en route to victory.
“I was nervous throughout and made some errors at inappropriate times, but overall I’m really happy,” said winner Sharapova as reported in BBC SPORT
“I didn’t serve my best and that’s something that I’ll definitely need to improve.”
It was a much needed win for Russia after Kvitova had put the Czech’s 1-0 up earlier in the day. The two time grand slam champion lost the first set to Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, but recovered to only lose two more games in a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory in front of the home crowd.
“It was nerves,” Kvitova said of her slow start as reported in WTA Tennis. “When I stepped on the court I was really nervous, and I was so tight – my legs felt really heavy and I couldn’t move well! That was the key, probably.
“It was very difficult to turn it around but in the beginning of the second set I held my serve and then was able to break her, and I think that game was really key to the second set and the match.
“Anastasia played really well. I’m happy I could keep improving throughout the match.”
Sunday’s action will kick off with the match of the tie as Sharapova and Kvitova face off again in a rematch of their WTA Finals semi-final clash. The Czech was victories on that occasion but Sharapova leads the head to head 6-4.
“Of course you can always take a few things from a match like that, no matter if you win or lose,” Sharapova said as reported in WTA Tennis . “You try to take the positives and things you can work on for the next one – I could bring a whole list to the court! But sometimes it’s best to come out with a clean slate and just perform.
“It’ll be the last match of the season for both of us. No doubt we’ll be giving everything we have.”
A victory for either will put their team within one win of the title. Therefore there will be a lot riding on the second singles rubber of the day between Pliskova and Pavlyuchenkova. The Czech won their only previous meeting earlier this year.
If the tie is level at 2-2 after the four singles rubbers, it will come down to the doubles to decide it. The Czech’s will be represented by Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova, whilst Russia will be represented by the number four doubles team Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Sharapova and Kvitova will kick off the final day’s action at 11:00AM GMT.
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