Czechs 2-0 up on USA in Fed Cup final

Kathy Rinaldi

Riske is scheduled to take on Katerina Siniakova in the second singles match on Saturday, after Barbora Strycova faces Sofia Kenin in the opener, with Siniakova partnering Krejcikova in Sunday's doubles against Danielle Collins and Nicole Melichar.

The Czechs had announced a power-packed lineup led by world number seven and twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and eighth-ranked Karolina Pliskova for the November 10-11 tie, but could be without both.

Chances are the two-time Wimbledon champion will not be needed, with the hosts requiring only one more win to put the match beyond their opponents.

The U.S.is the most successful country in the global team competition and won its 18th Fed Cup title past year with Rinaldi in her first season as the captain.

But the veteran Strycova, playing her 20th Fed Cup tie after first appearing in the tournament in 2002, showed her experience, breaking the young American's serve seven times to hold on for a 6-7 6-1 6-4 victory.

A 4-1 deficit in the first set proved too much for Riske to recover from, and while she showed fight to break when her opponent was serving for the match in the second, the American fell 6-1 down in a awful tie-break, Siniakova claiming victory with her second match point.

"Anything can happen in Fed Cup and tomorrow is another day", she said. Riske pushed the set to a tiebreak, where Siniakova took control.

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The 20-year-old Greek and world No. 15, who had been the alternate last year, prevailed 2-4, 4-1, 4-3 (3), 4-3 (3) over De Minaur, who has climbed more than 170 ranking spots since December, up to No. 31.

The Czechs are one win away from their sixth title in eight years.

"It was terrible, the worst (moment)", Siniakova said about the match points she faced.

usa captain Kathy Rinaldi said on wtatennis.com: "We came here expecting their best players to play, so we were preparing for everyone".

The Czech squad has won 10 times, including five times as Czechoslovakia. "I fought for every ball, and I'm so happy I could win today in front of this crowd - it means a lot to me".

The US, eyeing a record-extending 19th title, are missing Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams and Madison Keys.

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