Strycova beats Kenin as Czechs lead U.S. in Fed Cup final

Riske was drawn to play Katerina Siniakova in the second singles. Riske pushed the set to a tiebreak, where Siniakova took control.

The Czech squad has won 10 times, including five times as Czechoslovakia.

Alison Riske will be the second singles player on court tomorrow for the U.S. in the Fed Cup final as her country looks to win back-to-back competitions for the first time since the turn of the millennium.

"Despite everything, we're still the favourites because our girls are great players", Czech captain Petr Pala told reporters. In Sunday's reverse singles, Kenin will go against Siniakova, and Riske will meet Strycova.

Siniakova, the world number 31, then saw off 63rd-ranked Riske 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).

Yet they still remain heavy favourites against a US team featuring three debutants, including Kenin, because their best players are all unavailable. "I'm feeling a bit better".

The competition's two most successful nations were meeting in a Fed Cup final for the first time in more than three decades. The returners had the opportunities in the first four games of the match and Siniakova converted one in the fourth game to open a 4-1 lead, only to get broken at love in game seven and keep Riske in contention.

Americans Serena and Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens were all unavailable while, for the Czechs, world number eight Karolina Pliskova pulled out with injury and Petra Kvitova was sidelined on the first day with illness. "Anything can happen in the Fed Cup and tomorrow's another day". She evened the match with a forehand victor past Siniakova for set point.

USA captain Kathy Rinaldi said on wtatennis.com: "We came here expecting their best players to play, so we were preparing for everyone. Every match was tough with her". "It was a long match, a lot of effort, long points, we fought hard until the end", said Kenin.

"I hope I can use this experience", said the 22-year-old Siniakova.

Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova are then scheduled to face Danielle Collins and the Czech-born Nicole Melichar in the final doubles rubber.

  • Rosalie Stanley