Saturday, November 3, 2012

Czech Republic--2, Serbia--0

The first two rubbers of the Fed Cup final were played in Prague today, and the Czech Republic won both of them. Lucie Safarova defeated Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-3, and Petra Kvitova defeated Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-1.

Kvitova went down 2-4 in the first set, but after she evened things, she was the Petra of 2011, hitting 28 winners, most of them off of the forehand. Kvitova's groundstrokes were precise and powerful; her serve was strong, her performance at the net was deft.

The Czech star expressed surprise that she had played as well as she had. Still not totally rehabilitated from a case of bronchitis, she had some breathing difficulty during the match.

During today's opening ceremony, Jana Novotna was presented with the Fed Cup Award of Excellence. Novotna was part of Czechoslovakia's 1988 championship team. She participated in 33 Fed Cup ties over a span of 12 years. In presenting the award to Novotna, ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said of the Czech star: "In addition to being a talented and successful player, Jana Novotna was a leader and role model on and off the court during a pivotal time during her nation's history."

Novotna, who is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, won 12 major doubles titles, and also won the Wimbledon singles title in 1998.

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