Australia ousts United States in Fed Cup while Romania upsets Czechs

Romanian number one Simona Halep

Romanian number one Simona Halep

Pliskova got off to a hot start in the second set, breaking Halep at love for a 3-1 lead after the Romanian's backhand went awry.

Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova, the reigning Wimbledon and French Open women's doubles champions, won the first set on a tie-break but Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu rallied to pull off a shock with a 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-4 triumph that sealed a 3-2 victory for Romania.

Romania's star Simona Halep was in top shape over the weekend, bringing two points for her country, after a two-set win (6-4, 6-0) against Katerina Siniakova on Saturday and a three-set victory (6-4, 5-7, 6-4) against Czech star Karolina Pliskova on Sunday.

Ahead of the monumental tie against the Czech Republic in Ostrava, the 27-year-old fondly took a look back at her first experience with Fed Cup in 2008.

The main character of the match was Caroline Garcia, who returned to the team after a long break and won both singles match against Alison van Uytvanck (7:6, 4:6, 6:2) and Elise Mertens (6:2, 6:3).

"But I always said that I would come back and that it was important to me".

Katerina Siniakova played with a lot of pressure on her back but she managed to outplay Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 26 minutes, leveling the score at 2-2 before the doubles rubber that had to decide the victor of this outstanding tie.

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The Australian Open semifinalist, tabbed as the No.1 player for the 11-time champions when Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova withdrew from the tie, served six aces and saved all three break points she faced in the match against the World No.29.

It was a similar finish in Australia's 3-2 win over the U.S.in North Carolina, with Ash Barty and Priscilla Hon beating Danielle Collins and Nicole Melichar 6-4, 7-5 in the deciding doubles.

Earlier, Ashleigh Barty beat Madison Keys 6-4, 6-1 to give Australia a 2-1 lead.

Belarus coasted into the semi-finals when world number nine Aryna Sabalenka defeated Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 for an unassailable 3-0 lead over Germany in Braunschweig. "I had changes in the team a little bit, so for sure (it) was not the best season but not the worst", Pliskova, champion in Doha in 2017, said yesterday. In four of the match the Germans won only one set and twice suffered defeat.

Romania will now travel to France on April 20-21 for the semifinals.

"Fed Cup means that I am playing not for myself, I am playing for Romania", Halep said.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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