By Chris Oddo | Saturday November 11, 2016
The French drew level with the Czech Republic on Saturday in Strasbourg after Caroline Garcia knocked off World No.11 Petra Kvitova, 7-6(6), 6-3 in the second rubber of the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas final.
The Czech drops to 26-10 in Fed Cup singles rubbers with her loss; Garcia improves to 8-4 in Fed Cup singles rubbers and 4-1 in 2015.
More: Pliskova outlasts Mladenovic in Opening Epic
Garcia came in as the heavy underdog but was the more solid and inspired player throughout the one hour and fifty minute affair.
Garcia struck 20 winners against just 12 unforced errors and broke the vaunted Kvitova serve four times on ten opportunities. Kvitova hurt herself by double-faulting on eight of her 23 second serves and losing eight of the 15 second serve points that were in play.
The Czechs are bidding for their fifth Fed Cup title in six years while the French are hoping to win the Fed Cup for the first time since 2003.
The World No.23 snatched a competitive opener when she converted her second set point with a sharply angled backhand that a falling Kvitova could only knock into the net. Riding the momentum, Garcia broke Kvitova in her first two service games of the second set to take a 4-1 lead.
The Czech rallied, taking the next two games, Garcia survived a tight game to break for 5-3, then served out the match, converting her second match point to bring the crowd to a French frenzy.
Garcia’s victory sets up a high-stakes best of three on Sunday in Strasbourg, which will begin with two reverse singles rubbers. Garcia will face Karolina Pliskova in the first match on Sunday. Pliskova battled past Kristina Mladenovic, 6-3, 4-6, 16-14 on Saturday and will have to find the energy after a harrowing three hour and 48 minute struggle with Mladenovic.
Garcia and Pliskova have split two previous encounters, while Kvitova holds a 3-1 edge over Mladenovic.
If the singles don’t solve anything, a fifth and decisive doubles rubber will be played.