STRASBOURG, France (AP) — Caroline Garcia gave France a 2-1 lead in the Fed Cup final with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Czech Republic’s No. 1 player Karolina Pliskova on Sunday.
France's Caroline Garcia celebrates after defeating Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova on November 13, 2016 in Strasbourg, eastern France, during the Fed Cup final France vs Czech Republic. / AFP / PATRICK HERTZOG (Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)
Garcia played aggressively throughout and broke decisively in the eighth game of the decider with a superb forehand return after Pliskova hit two unforced errors.
Garcia helped the hosts level at 1-1 with the defending champions on Friday by winning her first match against Petra Kvitova.
The second reverse singles match was initially set to pit Kristina Mladenovic against Kvitova but both captains amended their teams to send out Alize Cornet and Barbora Strycova. Mladenovic struggled physically in her marathon loss to Pliskova on Friday and finished the match with her left thigh bandaged.
Garcia got off to a strong start and hit a superb forehand return to break Pliskova for a 3-1 lead.
The one break was enough to seal the first set but Pliskova clawed her way back into the match by raising her game. She served extremely well in the second set, broke for a 2-0 lead and held all her service games with ease to level at a set all.
But the sixth-ranked Czech was the first to crack in the decider. Serving at 4-3 down, she sent a forehand long and handed Garcia a break point with a backhand buried in the middle of the net. The French player seized her chance with another sizzling forehand that her opponent could not return and held to close out the match.
“It was really a very good match,” Garcia said. “We knew before this weekend that we would need to give everything to stand a chance. But there is still a very long way to go.”
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