2016 Fed Cup Update – Team Czech, Team France Tied
Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Garcia were winners on Saturday to send the Fed Cup final into an exciting final day.
Two rubbers were played on November 12th in the 2016 Fed Cup final between Team Czech Republic and Team France. In the first rubber Karolina Pliskova outlasted Kristina Mladenovic 16-14 in a classic match that made the record books for longest set in Fed Cup final history. The result also gave the Czechs the early advantage playing on the road in Strasbourg, France. However, Caroline Garcia answered back for her side with an upset win over Petra Kvitova later in the day, a match that was decided in straight sets.
The result of the two rubbers is that France and the Czech Republic go into the final day of the Fed Cup season knotted at one match a piece. The upset victory over Petra Kvitova has to be particularly encouraging for the French after losing a heartbreaker in the first rubber. From the onset of the final, it was difficult to see where French victories were going to come from, but now they do have a path to Fed Cup glory.
On Sunday, three matches are scheduled to decide the 2016 Fed Cup. Garcia will face Pliskova, Mladenovic will face Kvitova, and then a doubles match will take place. The two singles matches will require a split in order for the doubles match to have any bearing on the final outcome. Between the two singles matches, the French will surely rest big hopes on the Garcia/Pliskova contest. They were both winners on Saturday, but the French representative won efficiently in straight sets. She should have a lot more in the tank when playing on short rest on Sunday.
In fact it’s hard to picture Pliskova having much of anything in the third rubber. She played in 297 points in Saturday’s victory. It’s also hard to see where Mladenovic, who lost on Saturday, will summon energy from. That could lead to an all-important doubles match for the Fed Cup crown if both of the tired players lose.
The doubles participants are Alize Cornet and Pauline Parmentier of France and Lucie Hradecka and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic. Of those players, the weak link is Parmentier in my view while Strycova is the toughest player. However, doubles are complex, chemistry and organization count for a lot and the 5th rubber promises to be an open match. If the singles matches go in favor of Garcia and Kvitova on Sunday, then it could lead to a very dramatic finish in Strasbourg.