Re: Fed Cup 2008
Vaidisova and Peschke seal Czech win
The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Lubos Topolanek, was watching on site when the Czech tennis players celebrated their victory over the Slovak Republic in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round tie in Brno.
Nicole Vaidisova recovered from a poor start to defeat Slovak Republic’s Dominika Cibulkova 36 63 61 and give the Czech Republic an expected 2-1 lead ahead of the second match on Sunday. World No. 207 Magdalena Rybarikova then overcame Petra Cetkovska 64 63 to level the tie.
In the end it all came down to the deciding doubles match. Czech captain Petr Pala changed the nominations, choosing Nicole Vaidisova rather than Iveta Benesova to partner Kveta Peschke.
Peschke, who was the best player in this match, and Vaidisova were playing together for only the second time ever, but they immediately produced some beautiful strokes and took the first set in just 22 minutes. However, Slovak hopes remained alive after they won the second set 62.
There were five breaks of serve in the third set with the final one at 4-4 for the Czechs. The Slovak team was only five points away from a win but it was Vaidisova who ended the tie with two aces and celebrated with all the people in Brno Exhibition Center.
"I want to play Olympic doubles tournament with Nicole now," Peschke said. "She was a very good doubles pupil today, we had a very good harmony," she added with a smile. Vaidisova said: "I was so nervous. And now I am so happy." Regarding the change in the Czech doubles nomination she remarked: "It was a team decision. Captain said that it will be the best solution."
The disappointed Slovak captain Mojmír Mihal said: “It´s the sport, it´s the tennis. I would like to congratulate all the girls, who compete on this tie. I am very proud on my team.”
Three-set thriller for Vaidisova
In the day’s first singles match Vaidisova played a three-set thriller against Dominika Cibulkova, which was reminiscent of their quarterfinal encounter in Bratislava last year. Vaidisova, however was aware that she was defeated in an exhibition match against Cibulkova in Chile two months ago. “But to play the Fed Cup tie is absolutely different than a exhibition where you enjoy the play with the people,” Cibulkova said.
World No.14 Vaidisova was full of confidence after Saturday´s win over Rybarikova. However, the hard-hitting Czech, who made some wonderful returns which were marred by horrible unforced errors, lost the first set 36 and had to do her best to regain her composure and fight back. “In the first set, Dominika let me nothing. But I calm down after that,” Vaidisova said.
Vaidisova immediately broke the Slovak player on her first service in the second set but Cibulkova did not panic and retrieved the break following some excellent attacks at the net. At 3-3, Vaidisova hustled her way to another break point that she converted to win the crucial seventh game. Helped by the non-stop cries of "Nicole, Nicole" from the thousands of Czech supporters, vaidisova proceeded to win the next eight games in a row.
"The people in the arena were super. I had a strong feeling that I am playing at home. I didn’t think that I am a team player but the crowd helped me," said Vaidisova.
There was no stopping the Czech No.1 after that, she raced through the final set in just 27 minutes, finishing the match with her 13th ace.
"My serve was a little bit frustrating," Cibulkova said of her 62 per cent first serve. "And Nicole served in the second and third set fantastic. This is the main reason of my defeat. I am very sad."
Vaidisova can pride herself on an impressive 11-1 Fed Cup singles record, putting her fourth best on the list of Czech players, behind three ‘titans’, Sukova, Mandlikova and Novotna.
An easy victory for Rybarikova
The second match of the day saw Czech No.2 Petra Cetkovska’s tendency to wobble at crucial points in the match. The world No.107 struck the first blow, breaking Rybarikova in the first game with confidence-boosting winners. But Rybarikova, a former Wimbledon junior singles finalist, came out strongly after that, breaking Cetkovska three times to win the first set 64.
This gave the Slovak No.2 enough confidence to keep her level of play above that of her higher ranked opponent and Rybarikova slowly wrestled control. Trailing 4-2, Cetkovska broke Rybarikova´s serve but another series of terrible unforced errors from the Czech player decided this rubber.
"I love this type of competitions. I am six-times more disappointed then after a defeat at the WTA Tournament," said Cetkovska, crying. "I wanted to be agressive to Rybarikova´s backhand, I wanted to go often to the net, but nothing worked." Rybarikova added: “It was very tough match and I was nervous. She played very good, but then I start to play stronger.”
The Czech players, who are in the World Group Play-off’s for a fourth successive time, having lost their previous play-off ties against Italy, France and Spain, now eagerly await the outcome of the draw.
“I want to be on the court for the next Fed Cup tie. And I wish we will play in Brno again. I was born here, it’s my city,” said Lucie Safarova, who withdrew from this match with a gluteal injury, but helped her team from the bench.