Czech Republic edges Russia for Fed Cup title

A doubles victory by Lucie Hradecka and Kveta Peschke on Sunday handed the Czech Republic the Fed Cup title, ending a thrilling final against Russia.

The sides were tied, 1-1, heading into the decisive set of matches Sunday. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova edged Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first reverse singles rubber to give the Czechs the edge, but Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was called upon by Russia to face Lucie Safarova and won.

That meant the title came down to the lone doubles match. Hradecka and Peschke simply overpowered the Russian tandem of Maria Kirilenko and Elena Vesnina, winning in one hour, 36 minutes to give the Czech Republic its first Fed Cup title.

The former Czechoslovakia captured the coveted chalice five times, led by all- time great Martina Navratilova, but the Czech Republic had never won as an independent nation.

Russia, on the other hand, had won four of the last seven titles, including in 2008. But for the second day in a row, Kvitova stood in the Russians' way.

The world No. 2 routed Kirilenko in the opening singles match Saturday, putting the Russians behind immediately. She faced a sterner challenge Sunday against veteran Kuznetsova, who carried a 22-7 career Fed Cup record into their match.

But after dropping the first set thanks to a poor serve, Kvitova rebounded. She fell behind 3-0 in the third set, but won the next six games to clinch the crucial 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Pavlyuchenkova then recorded a decisive 6-2, 6-4 win against Safarova, piling up six aces and three breaks.