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16th-Nov-2015

Fed Cup final tied up after Kvitova, Sharapova prevail

By Agency

Day one of the Fed Cup final ended with defending champions Czech Republic on level terms with Russia after Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova claimed victories.
The two highest-ranked players in action at Prague's O2 Arena each lived up to their billing on Saturday to leave the tie delicately poised.
Kvitova, so often a strong Fed Cup performer for the Czechs, admitted to suffering badly from nerves as she lost the first set of her match with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
However, the world number six then came roaring back to triumph 2-6 6-1 6-1 and give her country, winners of this competition in three of the last four years, an early advantage.
Success for Kvitova piled the pressure on Sharapova, but the Russian responded strongly with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Karolina Pliskova, who was hampered by a poor first-serve percentage.
Reflecting on her win, Kvitova told the Fed Cup's official website: "It was really difficult for me to turn it around.
"When I stepped on the court I was nervous and I was so tight. My legs were very heavy and I couldn't really move well. I made so many mistakes and that's what I was trying to improve."
Sharapova also acknowledged the impact of the "incredible atmosphere" in Prague, after coming out on top in her first career meeting with Pliskova.
The home favourite improved as the match wore on, forcing Sharapova to serve her way out of trouble on more than one occasion in the second set.
"I felt like I was nervous throughout the whole match and made some errors. I'm really happy that I could win," said Sharapova.
"I didn't serve my best and that's something that I'll definitely need to improve, but it saved me in the end."
Looking ahead to her meeting with Kvitova in the reverse singles on Sunday, Sharapova added: "Last match of the season, you have to give everything that you have. I know both of us will and that's the type of match you want to see in the Fed Cup final."