Garcia upsets Kvitova as France draw level in final

Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:09pm EST
 
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STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Caroline Garcia stunned Petra Kvitova 7-6(6) 6-3 to pull France level at 1-1 with champions Czech Republic in the Fed Cup final after Karolina Pliskova won an epic first singles earlier on Saturday.

Garcia produced an aggressive performance to down Kvitova and the Czech threatened a comeback in the second set but the Frenchwoman was too hot and closed it out on her second match point.

World number six Pliskova had overcome Kristina Mladenovic's stubborn resistance to put the visitors ahead with a thrilling 6-3 4-6 16-14 win.

Mladenovic will take on double Wimbledon champion Kvitova while world number 23 Garcia will play Pliskova in Sunday's reverse singles as the Czech look to claim a fifth title in six years.

After surrendering the first set in a tie break, world number 11 Kvitova fell further behind as she trailed 4-1 in the second set.

She did close the gap to 4-3 before Garcia held her nerve to break again and wrap up victory with a forehand winner.

The highlight of the show, however, was earlier.

In one of the competition's finest rubbers, U.S. Open finalist Pliskova wore down Mladenovic in a nail-biting third set which was the longest ever played in a Fed Cup final.

Pliskova appeared to be cruising toward victory after breezing through the first set but then lost her focus in the second to allow Mladenovic back in the contest.   Continued...

 
Tennis -  Fed Cup Final - France v Czech Republic - Strasbourg, France - 12/11/16  Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova returns a shot to France's Kristina Mladenovic. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler