PRAGUE (AFP) – Petra Kvitova handed the Czech Republic their third Fed Cup title in four years after beating Angelique Kerber in the final on Sunday to give her team an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Germany.
Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion and world number four, beat 10th-ranked Kerber in a three-set rollercoaster rubber pitting the teams’ number one players 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 57 minutes.
Spearheaded by Kvitova, the Czechs already won the cup in 2011 and 2012, following five titles earned by the former Czechoslovakia in 1975-1988. Germany last won the Fed Cup in 1992.
Kerber had to shake off Saturday’s 6-4, 6-4 defeat at the hands of Czech number two Lucie Safarova.
The first set turned into a 76-minute thriller with both left-handers at their most aggressive on the superfast hardcourt of Prague’s O2 Arena packed with 13,000 fans.
Kvitova squandered four break points while Kerber needed a single one to break her in the fifth game before doing it again for a 5-2 lead.
But Kvitova showed why Czech fans and media call her “Lioness” and broke her rival back twice to come level at 5-5.
Kerber went on an attacking spree to earn another break and grab a 6-5 lead, before the drama peaked in game 12.
Kerber had five set points in that game but Kvitova managed to tame her before converting her fifth break point of the game to take the set to a tie-break.