Safarova Clinches Fed Cup For Czechs
Published November 04, 2012 09:52
PRAGUE, Czech Republic - For a few hours on Sunday afternoon, Ana Ivanovic and her Serbian teammates dared to dream the impossible.
But, no sooner had Ivanovic wedged open the door for the comeback of all Fed Cup comebacks than Lucie Safarova slammed it shut in the most resounding fashion.
Safarova's 61 61 win over Jelena Jankovic in Sunday's second singles rubber clinched a 3-1 win for the Czech Republic over Serbia and with it a second straight Fed Cup by BNP Paribas crown.
"It's hard to describe how I feel. I played an unbelievable game," Safarova said. "I desperately wanted to win and I'm really delighted. It's fantastic to win at home, in Prague. I played one of the best matches of my career."
The performance was all the more impressive coming as it did on the back of Czech No.1 Petra Kvitova's surprise defeat to Ivanovic.
After the Czechs won the final's opening two singles rubbers, Kvitova, who had won her last 11 Fed Cup encounters, was expected to clinch the trophy against Ivanovic in the first of Day 2's reverse singles.
Ivanovic had other ideas, producing some of her best tennis of the year to shock the Czech No.1. A dominant returning display laid the foundations for the 63 75 triumph, which was rounded off with a trademark forehand winner on her third match point.
No team in the 50-year history of the Fed Cup has ever overcome a 2-0 deficit in the final, and it was evident from the early stages of Safarova versus Jankovic that the record books were not about to be re-written.
Safarova dominated from the outset with crisp groundstrokes from either wing, taking the first four games on her way to the first set before breaking twice early in the second to send her hurtling towards the finish line.
Another down-the-line forehand winner on match point wrapped up the win and sparked wild celebrations among the 13,000 inside the O2 Arena.
"Here at home in this type of crowd, it's indescribable, it's an amazing feeling," Safarova said after the match. "There are so many emotions and happiness and that is the feeling we are practicing for every day, even if you're not in the mood to work."