Saturday, April 21, 2018

Kiki CoCo Provence

It's always exciting when two Fed Cup big shots oppose each other in Fed Cup competition. Today, it was France's Kiki Mladenovic and the USA's CoCo Vandeweghe, both Fed Cup queens in their own right. In the second rubber of the day, played on red clay in Aix-en-Provence, Vandeweghe--took the first set 6-1. Mladenovic didn't make many errors, but Vandeweghe was able to break her three times.

Not surprisingly, Mladenovic came out in holy terror form in the second set, won it, then continued the momentum through the third, taking away a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in the World Group semifinal rubber. The Frenchwoman's combination of creativity and athleticism is always stunning, and it was on full display today.

Mladenovic's countrywoman, Pauline Parmentier, did her best to take advantage of a sluggish (how often do we use that adjective in front of her name?) Sloane Stephens, and she almost got away with it. But Stephens had a "wake up" moment and prevailed, 7-6, 7-5, as Parmentier saw set point after set point disappear.

In Charleston, Petra Kvitova made a point of telling us how she isn't that good on clay. Reminded that she won Madrid, she countered with the (legitimate) high altitude/faster surface argument. Then, reminded that she had reached the semifinals of the French Open, she just smiled. Today, on red clay in Stuttgart, she handled Charleston finalist Julia Goerges in straight sets.

In the other rubber played between the Czech Republic and Germany, Karolina Pliskova defeated (former Stuttgart champion) Angie Kerber 7-5, 6-3. Plisko hit 15 aces.

Here are the results of the first day of the World Group Play-offs:

Belarus vs. Slovakia: 1-1
Australia vs. Netherlands: 1-1
Romania vs. Switzerland: 2-0
Belgium vs. Italy: 2-0

And in World Group II Play-offs, there was this:

The Russia vs. Latvia tie is a tasty one. Today, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, and Alona Ostapenko defeated Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 6-4.

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