Czechs take 2-0 lead over United States in Fed Cup final

Barbora Strycova

World number seven Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic has been ruled out of the opening singles of the Fed Cup final against the United States due to illness on Friday.

The veteran Strycova, playing in her final tie for the Czechs after a 16-year Fed Cup career, gave up the first set to the 19-year-old Kenin, who fought through early nerves in her first taste of Fed Cup action.

Siniakova has replaced seventh-ranked Kvitova as the Czech number one after the two-time Wimbledon champion pulled out of Saturday's singles with a bad cold. It will be an interesting match, ' Czech captain Petr Pala said after training, according to the CTK news agency. "I'm looking forward to it". But the American put up a fight and narrowly missed forcing a tiebreak before Siniakova took the first set with a strong forehand smash.

The teams may change after day one and if Kvitova gets better, she is certain to appear on the court on Sunday.

United States captain Kathy Rinaldi said on wtatennis.com: "We came here expecting their best players to play, so we were preparing for everyone".

Yet they still remain heavy favourites against a US team featuring three debutants, including Kenin, because their best players are all unavailable.

"For me it was a lot of emotions", Strycova said on court after the win.

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"I was pretty nervous but I was able to handle it", she said.

The US side is missing four of its five highest-ranked players in Serena and Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, with teenager Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske and Danielle Collins the singles picks alongside doubles specialist Nicole Melichar.

Their opening day victories ensured the Czech team will take a 2-0 lead into Sunday as they seek a sixth Fed Cup triumph since 2011 against the only the country to have won more titles.

"I was just trying to focus on every point (in the tie-break)", said Siniakova. "If anything is needed of me, I'm going to help for sure".

The mighty Czech Fed Cup team will hope to harness all its home support in Prague this weekend when it comes up against one of its most formidable adversaries, the USA.

The Czechs claimed their 11th Fed Cup title, including five as part of Czechoslovakia.

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