Showdown in Prague: Pliskova leads Czechs to 3-2 Fed Cup thriller against Russia

Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova (R) and Barbora Strycova celebrate after winning against Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina © David W Cerny
The women of the Czech Republic defended their Federation Cup tennis title on Sunday with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Russia in front of a noisy home crowd at the O2 Arena in Prague.

The Czechs, who sealed their fourth Fed Cup triumph in five years, fell 2-1 behind after Russia's Maria Sharapova defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening match of the day, having beaten Karolina Pliskova in their singles match Saturday.

Pliskova bounced back on Sunday by leveling the final with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, as the Czech's serve and dominating forehand were too much for the Russian to handle.

Barbora Strycova and Pliskova secured the crown in the final doubles, recovering in style after losing the first set 4-6 to Elena Vesnina and Pavlyuchenkova to take the next two 6-3, 6-2.

"It's the first experience for me in the Fed Cup so I'm really happy how we made it and we both played really good," said Pliskova, the world No. 11.

"It's definitely one of the biggest wins in my career. I was trying to focus on my serve and it was working today so I'm really happy for that."

Strycova added: "I was believing we could still do it and we did it at the end, but this crowd was unbelievable. They pushed us forward."

The Czechs have now won the Fed Cup nine times overall, including Czechoslovakia's five before its split in 1993.

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