(November 3rd, 2012) -- In front of a packed and boisterous 13,000 plus home crowd at the 02 Arena in Prague, the Czech Republic took command of the Fed Cup finals against Serbia by winning the first two singles rubbers.
Lucie Safarova kicked things off in the first match against Ana Ivanovic that saw both women show some nerves during the initial stages of the opening set. Safarova earned a pivotal break of serve at 3-all with a backhand winner that eventually set her up to serve out the set at 5-4.
Safarova wasted her first two set points, but it was a forehand winner off of the lefty Safarova's racquet that sealed the set for her 6-4 as Ivanovic was left to argue with a lines judge over what she thought was an out ball earlier in the rally.
Safarova jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set while an emotional and frustrated Ivanovic fought to stay close with the Czech as she served for the first point of the tie at 5-3. But Ivanovic could do little as Safarova held her next service game to love to clinch a 6-4, 6-3 win marking her fourth consecutive career victory over Ivanovic.
Kvitova Overtakes Jankovic in Second Singles Rubber
Despite coming into this weekend's finals as something of a question mark after having to withdraw from the WTA Championships in Istanbul with bronchitis, Petra Kvitova literally roared back to life as she faced Jelena Jankovic in the second match of the day.
But Jankovic proved she was up to the challenge early on as she stayed even with Kvitova who then gifted the first break of the match with a double fault. Jankovic edged out to a 4-2 lead, but Kvitova's powerful game kicked into overdrive as she fought off a break point and then went on to win four games in a row eventually taking the set 6-4 when Jankovic sent a backhand long.
With an animated Kvitova fueled by the constant cheering of her home crowd, she proceeded to dominate Jankovic in the second set taking the next five games. Jankovic managed to finally get on the board and force Kvitova to serve for it at 5-1. But it was only a momentary pause in the inevitable as Jankovic sent a final backhand wide to give Kvitova the 6-4, 6-1 win and thus putting the Czechs up 2-0 leading into tomorrow.
“I cannot ask for more," said Czech captain Petr Pala to FedCup.com afterwards. "The girls put up a great performance. We are confident but we have to be ready for tomorrow. We don’t want to underestimate anything because we are facing a great team. But we need one point and we have three chances."
"It has been a long time since we have been in this position, 2-0 after the first day," said Jankovic. "It's not an easy situation for us but we have to stay positive. The tie is not over until the last point is won so we go one step at a time and maybe tomorrow is our day."
Tomorrow will feature reverse singles matches as Kvitova takes on Ivanovic first followed by Safarova meeting Jankovic.