Fed Cup: Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova put Czech Republic in command; France and USA tied 1-1 in semi-finals
Petra Kvitova powered past German number one Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-2 before Karolina Pliskova produced a sublime display to record a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Angelique Kerber.
Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova won their opening singles matches to give Czech Republic a commanding 2-0 lead in their Fed Cup semi-final against Germany in Stuttgart on Saturday.
Kvitova powered past German number one Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-2 before Pliskova produced a sublime display to record a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Angelique Kerber.
Pliskova, who had lost in her previous three encounters with Kerber, fired 15 aces and faced no break points as she subdued the home fans in Stuttgart.
“No one expected it,” Pliskova said after the German failed to win a set on day one.
Kvitova recorded her 29th Fed Cup victory on the back of a strong serve and a string of blistering groundstrokes.
World number 11 Goerges was stronger in the opening exchanges and raced to a 3-1 lead in the first set before Kvitova rediscovered her rhythm to level things up.
The 28-year-old Czech claimed nine of the last 11 games and dropped just two points on her serve to seal the victory on the stroke of an hour.
The 10-time champion Czechs are looking to reach the Fed Cup final after a one-year absence. The last time Germany won the Fed Cup title was in 1992 in Frankfurt.
Mladenovic rallies to level tie
Kristina Mladenovic rallied to beat CoCo Vandeweghe 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 and draw France level with defending champions United States in their Fed Cup semi-final.
The 20th-ranked Mladenovic dropped serve five times but broke No 16 Vandeweghe's serve six times.
Earlier, US Open champion Sloane Stephens struggled to put away Pauline Parmentier 7-6 (3), 7-5 at the 6,700-capacity Arena Pays d'Aix on indoor clay.
Stephens saved five set points serving at 5-4 down in the first set, and rallied from 4-3 and a break down in the second set against Parmentier.
Both players made more than 50 unforced errors each in the scrappy two and a half hour hour match, conceding 25 break point chances between them.
Stephens converted four of her 11 break chances, while Parmentier took only three of her 14 chances.
The reverse singles are on Sunday, followed by a doubles featuring Mladenovic and Amandine Hesse against Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
The Americans hold an 11-2 winning record against the French, who won their most recent tie in 2014.
With inputs from agencies
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