Czechs defend Fed Cup with Safarova victory

Safarova takes Championship point

Czech Republic successfully defended their Fed Cup crown on Sunday after Lucie Safarova overpowered Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic 6-1 6-1 in Prague to secure the trophy.

The victory not only propels Czech tennis to new realms of dominance on the WTA circuit, but could spark the arrival of Safarova to the top-10 next year, so dominant have her performances been this weekend.

Heading into the match 2-1 up after Serbia clawed a point back earlier in the day, Czech’s Safarova looked unfazed under the immense spotlight of her home crowd and calmly carved apart her opponent in merciless style.

Jankovic behind the baseline

Despite Ana Ivanovic’s straight-set victory over Petra Kvitova only half an hour before, Safarova powered her way to a break in the first game and some resolute serving made it 2-0 early on.

The calibre of tennis on show was extolled early on, with the third game running into 11 minutes before Safarova broke for a second time for 3-0. Another long fourth game saw more deuces before Safarova again powered her way through the resolute Jankovic for 4-0.

It could have got even worse for the Serb when her opponent swept forward to plant a net volley into space and set up a break point in the fifth, but Jankovic held her serve to defiantly taker her first game of the match.

Safarova was in control throughout

Safarova’s serves were just too good however and a win in the sixth set up a 5-1 lead. The 25-year-old’s powerful forehand earned her break point and seconds later she was back in her chair – the first set done and dusted.

While Safarova rested with drinks bottle in hand, her opponent went through a vigorous back massage across the other side of the umpire’s chair. Jankovic had certainly not appeared to be suffering discomfiture in that first set but the trainer’s aid was evidently needed to loosen up some knots from Saturday’s tie.

A flat, darting forehand gave Safarova the first game of the second set, before the Serb held her own serve to draw level. A love service game finished with an ace rocketed Safarova back into the lead and after a tiring fourth game Safarova took her second break point thanks to a long Jankovic forehand.

Championship point won!

At 1-4 Jankovic, who has not beaten a top-20 player since February, was clearly hurting and when her opponent nailed a forehand right in the corner of her baseline it was clear there was only going to be one winner. Safarova lifted the crowd to its feet with an impervious love break, before serving for the match.

The Czech aced her second point, sent a fierce backhand down the right for three championship points, and finished it all off with another beautifully controlled backhand down the line before collapsing to her knees in relief.

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