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By Chris Oddo

Petra Kvitova Fed Cup (February 9, 2013) -- Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova are picking up right were they left off. The two southpaws, so instrumental in the Czech Republic's success in Fed Cup over the last two years, led their world-beating squad to a comfortable 2-0 lead over Australia in Ostrava today.

While the Czechs are in the driver's seat for Sunday, the other three World Group ties are all deadlocked at one apiece.

Czech Republic 2, Australian 0

After Petra Kvitova slipped past Jarmila Gajdosova 7-6(2), 6-3--a result that all but a very few expected--the onus was on Sam Stosur to bring the green and gold level. Stosur looked to be well on her way with a 4-1 lead in the first set, but Lucie Safarova, the big hero of the Czech's title-clinching tie over Serbia in 2012, fought back to steal a wild first set from Stosur.

Stosur, always a kind, genial soul, did provide some help to Safarova by double-faulting five times when she served for the set at 5-3. Just for good measure, she double-faulted again while serving for the set in the tiebreaker at 6-5, eventually losing it 8-6.

Stosur served for the second set as well, but a gutty Safarova broke her to 15, forced a tiebreaker, and took it 7-4.

Stosur will face Petra Kvitova in reverse singles tomorrow. She has 0-3 in head-to-head match-ups versus Kvitova.

U.S.A. 1, Italy 1

With the Americans down 1-0 after Sara Errani throttled Jamie Hampton, Varvara Lepchenko drew the Americans even when she took out Roberta Vinci in a tough three-setter. Read Erik Gudris's full report on the tie here.

Russia 1, Japan 1

42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm got off to a strong start against Maria Kirilenko, and even had a chance for a double-break lead in the first set, but the feisty Russian fought back, breaking the ageless wonder to 15 as she served for the set at 5-4 then taking the tiebreaker 7-3.

In the second set Kirilenko threatened a rout with a 4-0 lead, but Date-Krumm fought back to climb within 5-4 and even had Kirilenko down 0-40 as the Russian served for the match. Eventually Kirilenko got to deuce, but she had to fight off another break point before finally clinching the 7-6(3), 6-4 victory for Team Russia.

In the second singles match, Ayumi Morita rose up and stunned top 20 player Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2 to set up a best-of-three battle for Sunday in Moscow with a spot in the World Group semifinals on the line.

Serbia 1, Slovak Republic 1

Daniela Hantuchova took the final three games of a tight first set, then cruised comfortably in the second to defeat Bojana Jovanovski 7-5, 6-2. But a bit of the injury bug that had forced Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic to skip out on Serbia's tie hit team Slovakia too.

Dominika Cibulkova, heavily favored to defeat World No. 92 Vesna Dolonc, was doing just that until a calf injury reared its ugly head and forced Cibulkova to retire while leading 5-4 in the second set. Cibulkova first went down in anguish with cramps in her right calf while serving for the match at 5-3. One game later, Cibulkova was forced to retire, handing the Serbians a ticket back into a tie that had looked all but lost just a few moments earlier.

World Group 2 Results:

Switzerland 1, Belgium 1
Argentina 2, Sweden 0
Spain 2, Ukraine 0
Germany 2, France 0


(Photo Credit: Fedcup.com)

 

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