Czechs lead defending champ US 2-0 in Fed Cup final

Alison Riske attending the Fed Cup draw ceremony

Fed Cup final: Czech Rep go 2-0 up against United States

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.

World No 7 Petra Kvitova will miss the opening day's action of her Czech team's Fed Cup final against the United States in Prague due to sickness.

The Czech Republic has now won the Fed Cup title six times in the past eight years.

The Czech team was heavily favoured going into the final with the defending champions United States fielding a squad without Serena and Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys.

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Twice he forced Pickford into flying saves, while Willian fired wide from Hazard's pass that opened up the visitor's defense. Eden Hazard played following his recovery from a recent injury.

"I believe in all my players".

Another mainstay on the Czech Fed Cup team in recent years, Lucie Safarova, announced on Saturday she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open because of health problems.

"We can only be aggressive and go after it tomorrow", Riske said.

The reverse singles, for which Kvitova could be drafted in if well enough, take place on Sunday, ahead of the final doubles rubber between world number one pair Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova and Melichar and Collins.

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The USA can take comfort in their record against their opponents, having not lost to the Czechs in eight meetings dating back to 1985, while they are on a seven-match winning streak after beating Belarus in the final a year ago. They traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the second set and again at 5-5, with Siniakova missing a chance to cross the finish line on own serve in game 12. "It was up and down, nerves", 22-year-old Siniakova said on the court after the match that was just short of the longest rubber -- at four hours flat -- in Fed Cup history. And despite the Czechs' remarkable run in the last decade, there is one big statistic weighing in their opponents' favour: The USA has a 10-2 head to head advantage, and has won the last eight meetings in a row. "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".

"I definitely do like the court a lot", she told media just after the draw was made.

Strycova, who was tearful during the national anthems, said: "It's amusing because it's her first tie and my last one".

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