Czechs breeze past Aus to semis
Petra Kvitova led holders Czech Republic into the Fed Cup semi-finals by giving them a winning lead with a three-set victory over Australia's Samantha Stosur in Ostrava on Sunday.
The Czechs also won the dead doubles rubber later on Sunday for an overall 4-0 win.
In the clash of the teams' number-one players, Kvitova, the world No.8, needed two hours and five minutes to beat 9th-ranked Stosur 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.
On the hardcourt in Ostrava, about 320 kilometres (200 miles) east of Prague, Stosur took the first set easily, then had a match point in the second, but Kvitova fought back to take the set in a tie-break.
In the decisive set, she gave up a break leading 5-3 but immediately took it back to give the Czechs a seventh straight Fed Cup win.
"I'm really happy. I think it was one of my best games this season," said Kvitova, who led the Czechs to two straight Fed Cup victories in 2011 and 2012.
"We won, but it wasn't easy, each game was like a seesaw," she added.
Stosur said she was also happy with the way she played despite the loss.
"I really don't think I did much wrong today, I think Petra played a very good match," Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, told the fedcup.com website.
"We both played very high quality and when it comes down to that it's just a point here and a point there," she added.
On Saturday, Kvitova beat Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, before Lucie Safarova handed the Czechs a second point against Stosur in two tie-breaks – 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4).
In Sunday's dead doubles rubber, Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, the world numbers three and four in the format, beat Australian Open finalists Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty 6-0, 7-6.
The Czechs are eyeing a Fed Cup treble, something the former Czechoslovakia – which split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993 – achieved in 1983-1985.
In the semi-finals, the Czechs will face either Italy or the United States. The US team led hosts Italy 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Kvitova said she would prefer Italy in the semi-finals as "it would be much better than having to fly to America, although they would be terribly strong on clay."