— Fed Cup (@FedCup) November 11, 2018
The Czech Republic Defeats the U.S., 3-0, to Reclaim Fed Cup Title
(November 11, 2018) A dramatically close and nearly historic Fed Cup Final match on Sunday in Prague ended with the Czech Republic reclaiming the Fed Cup title, but not without an American rookie opening many eyes to a seemingly bright future.
Katerina Siniakova defeated Sofia Kenin, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, in a 3-hour, 44-minute tug-of-war in front of 14,500 affixed fans inside the O2 Arena, clinching the Czechs’ 11th Fed Cup title and sixth in the last eight years. While the 19-year old Kenin, playing her second match in her debut Fed Cup tie, rallied from a set down and multiple second-and third-set deficits, even holding two match points on-serve in the third, the 22-year old Czech finally prevailed in a match decided by the slimmest of margins.
The rallies in this one featured as many as 30 shots, and one game – the fifth game of the third set – lasted 27 points and 19 minutes. The total match time fell 16 minutes shy of the four-hour record for longest-ever Fed Cup match, but that record was set before Fed Cup instituted a final-set tiebreak and featured a 10-8 third set (Richel Hogenkamp, NED d. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS, 7-6(4), 5-7, 10-8 in the 2016 World Group First Round).
Kenin hit 42 winners compared to Siniakova’s 24 but also made 76 unforced errors, compared to the Czech’s 43. The ultimate difference, though, may very well have been the world No. 31 capitalizing on more of her break chances, which came frequently for both players. Overall, the match featured 17 breaks of serve, with Siniakova converting 9 of 18 chances and Kenin going 8 for 23. The most important of Siniakova’s nine came with Kenin serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set. The American had two match points at 40-15 that Siniakova saved, and rode that momentum to victory.
Kenin is only the third player to make her Fed Cup debut in a Final for the U.S. and ended up being Captain Kathy Rinaldi’s No. 1 singles nomination. In her two matches this weekend, she spent a total of 6 hours, 27 minutes on court.
“It was amazing match for me,” said Siniakova. “I just enjoy all atmosphere. It was so tough for me. So many up and downs. … I
just want to thank the team and all the fans who were there. They were just amazing, cheering me at a home match, so I just enjoy it. It’s unbelievable for me at the end that I won.
“It was something special. It’s some sort of different than on the other tournaments. It’s the feeling after I won, it was amazing and I was really excited about it. So at the moment it’s first, and I really enjoy it with the team and everybody here.”
Kenin reflected on a long battle lost: “It was obviously a really close match, and we were both pretty emotional after. When we were walking on court, we were also, like, crying, so … I mean, it was a long match. Really a lot of effort, long points. We fought hard
until the end. It’s disappointing for me, because I had two match points that could have turned things around.
“But I fought my hardest and I literally did everything I could.”
“I’m just proud of the way I competed,” Kenin said of the tie. “I fought until the end. I never gave up. I knew I could do it, and even like when I was down, I still was fighting out there. Captain Kathy was always telling me during changeovers, like, she was always helping me and giving me the right strategies, and that really helped. Thank you so much, Kathy, for everything and choosing me to be a part of this team. It’s been an amazing week of practice, and
these past two days, I’m never going to forget them.”
The U.S. will begin its 2019 Fed Cup campaign February 9-10 with a First-Round tie vs. Australia at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C.
Singles A: Barbora Strycova (CZE) d. Sofia Kenin (USA), 7-6(5), 6-1, 6-4
Singles B: Katerina Siniakova (CZE) d. Alison Riske (USA), 6-3, 7-6(6)
Sunday, noon (6 a.m. ET)
Singles C: Katerina Siniakova (CZE) d. Sofia Kenin (USA), 7-5, 5-7, 7-5