Petra Kvitova has sent the Czech Republic to their third Fed Cup finals in four years by beating Italy’s Roberta Vinci for an unassailable 3-0 lead over the defending champions.
Kvitova, the world number six and a former Wimbledon champion, saw off 20th-ranked Vinci 6-3, 7-5 in an hour-and-a-half on the hardcourt of the CEZ Arena in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava on Sunday.
The Czechs, who lifted the trophy in 2011 and 2012, will host Germany in the Fed Cup final on November 8-9.
“I’m happy we’ve made it and it will be a pleasure for the whole country to host the finals again,” said Kvitova, praising her fellow players on “a superb team”.
In the first set on Sunday, she took advantage of Vinci’s two straight double faults to take a 5-3 lead before winning 6-3.
In the second set, the fast-serving Czech broke Vinci’s serve to take a 4-3 lead but failed to confirm the break in the next game.
But Kvitova did the same thing for a 6-5 lead and converted her second match point to take the set 7-5.
“The tactic was quite difficult, her chops are quite unpleasant on the hardcourt so I had to move my feet fast and play returns to her forehand side,” Kvitova said.
“I have recently improved my movement so now it’s more pleasant to play longer exchanges.
“And I have also improved my serve, which is a mental advantage,” Kvitova said.
On Saturday, Lucie Safarova first beat Italy’s number-one player Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1 and Kvitova then breezed past Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2.
The Czech Republic and Italy have been taking turns as Fed Cup champions for the last five years, with Italy lifting the trophy in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
In the other semi-final in Brisbane, Germany – who last won the trophy in 1992 – beat Australia 3-1.