Strasbourg - Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Strycova clinched the Czech Republic's
fifth Fed Cup title in six years on Sunday after beating France in the deciding doubles rubber in Strasbourg.
With the tie level at
2-2, US Open finalist Pliskova teamed up with Strycova to defeat French
Open doubles champions Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 7-5
to prolong the Czechs' reign.
It was their third triumph in succession and 10th overall, with only the United States boasting more titles with 17.
We don't have words yet, we are going to celebrate. The feeling is
something so special, even if it's our fifth title. It's really
unbelievable," said Strycova, a member of the title-winning teams in
2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
"It's one of the best trophies I am going to win. I am going to place it next to the one from last year," added Pliskova.
had grabbed a 2-1 lead earlier in the day after Garcia moved them
within reach of a first Fed Cup crown since 2003 following a 6-3, 3-6,
6-3 win over sixth-ranked Pliskova.
But Strycova, drafted in to
replace injured two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova by Czech
captain Petr Pala, kept their hopes alive by overcoming Alize Cornet
6-2, 7-6 (7/4) to force a fifth and final rubber.
out the reverse singles complaining of cramp after losing a four-hour
marathon to Pliskova in the opening match on Saturday, but returned to
partner Garcia in the doubles.
However she dropped serve at 5-all
in the first set after netting a bruising forehand from Pliskova and the
Czechs surged in front.
Pliskova and Strycova then broke again to move 3-2 ahead in the second, but the French pair responded to draw level at 4-all.
serve came unstuck once more though when Pliskova reacted superbly to
dig out a volley and convert the decisive break point for a 6-5 lead as
the Czech Republic extended their recent domination.
been seeking to win a third crown - the last of which came when captain
Amelie Mauresmo inspired them to a 4-1 triumph over the United States
13 years ago.
"It's tough to go away with the runners-up trophy when the one for the winners was so close," said Garcia.