=== Safarova lifts Czechs to second straight Fed Cup title ===
Prague, Czech Republic (Sports Network) - Lucie Safarova rolled to a straight-
set win over Serbia's Jelena Jankovic on Sunday to give the Czech Republic its
second straight Fed Cup title.
The Czechs carried a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five tie into Sunday's
reverse singles play, but Ana Ivanovic kept Serbia's slim hopes alive with a
6-3, 7-5 win over Petra Kvitova in the first match of the day.
Safarova then went out and blasted Jankovic, 6-1, 6-1, in just 77 minutes to
give the host nation an insurmountable 3-1 lead. It ended that way after the
scheduled doubles match was not played.
"Here at home in this type of crowd, it's indescribable," said Safarova about
earning the clinching point, "it's an amazing feeling."
The star of the weekend was Safarova, who won both of her singles matches. She
gave the Czechs their first point Saturday with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over
Jankovic, meanwhile, had a tough weekend for the Serbs. She was thumped by
Kvitova in the second opening singles match on Saturday, 6-4, 6-1.
"It's a difficult loss because it's not only my loss, but it's a team loss,"
said Jankovic, who indicated that she played the weekend with an injured back
and said it got worse as she went along. "It's never easy to lose in a final.
We all wanted to win."
Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champ, had the first opportunity to give the
Czechs the title, but Ivanovic had other ideas.
The former French Open champ broke serve for a 3-2 lead in the opening set and
nearly squandered another break chance in the ninth game. Kvitova saved five
set points before Ivanovic finally converted on the sixth.
Kvitova saved a pair of break points in the fourth game of the second set
before Ivanovic converted the third for a 3-1 lead. She was unable to hold the
advantage while serving for the match at 5-3, as Kvitova broke and followed
with an easy hold to level the set.
Ivanovic, though, regrouped and held at love for 6-5, then quickly gained
three match points in the next game. She needed all three and finally
prevailed with a forehand winner to keep the Serbs alive.
"To give a whole point to our team was just amazing," said Ivanovic. "It was a
really good quality match. I knew I was going to play better today because I
got that experience yesterday."
The momentum she provided did not last long.
Safarova broke serve to start the second match and added a second break en
route to a quick 4-0 lead. After Jankovic finally held in the next game --
saving another break point in the process -- Safarova won the next two games
to capture the opening set.
Jankovic sent a forehand long to give Safarova a break for a 3-1 lead in the
second set and the Serb never recovered. Safarova won the next two games at
love and opened a 40-0 lead in the final game before Jankovic saved one match
point. A forehand winner down the line on the second match point gave Safarova
and the Czechs the crown.
The Czech Republic won its first Fed Cup title as an independent nation last
year, beating Russia in the final. The former Czechoslovakia, which split in
1993, won five Fed Cup championships.
11/05 10:48:39 ET