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Tennis: Czechs breeze past Australia to Fed Cup semis

11 February, 2013

PRAGUE: Petra Kvitova led holders Czech Republic into the Fed Cup semi-finals by giving them an unbeatable 3-0 lead with a three-set win over Australia's Samantha Stosur in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava on Sunday.

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In the clash of the teams' number-one players, Kvitova, the world No.8, needed two hours and five minutes to beat 9th-ranked Stosur 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4. On the hardcourt in Ostrava, about 320 kilometres (200 miles) east of Prague, Stosur took the first set easily, then had a match point in the second, but Kvitova fought back to take the set in a tie-break.

In the decisive set, she gave up a break leading 5-3 but immediately took it back to give the Czechs a seventh straight Fed Cup win. On Saturday, Kvitova beat Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, before Lucie Safarova handed the Czechs a second point against Stosur in two tie-breaks – 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4). Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, the world numbers three and four in the format, will now face Australian Open finalists Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty in a dead doubles rubber.

Kvitova and Safarova led the Czechs to Fed Cup victories in 2011 and 2012 and are eyeing a treble, something the former Czechoslovakia – which split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993 – achieved in 1983-1985. In the semi-finals, the Czechs will face either Italy or the United States, who were tied 1-1 after Saturday.

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