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

Czechs lead defending champ US 2-0 in Fed Cup final
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic reacts after scoring a point against Alison Riske of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — Barbora Strycova and Katerina Siniakova won their singles for the Czech Republic to take a commanding 2-0 over the defending champion United States in the Fed Cup final on Saturday.

Strycova rallied from a set down to defeat Sofia Kenin 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4.

Siniakova stretched the advantage by dispatching Alison Riske 6-3, 7-6 (2) to the delight of more than 14,000 fans at Prague's O2 Arena.

"It couldn't be better," Siniakova said. "But it's not finished yet and we need to be ready for tomorrow. We need to stay focused and I believe that we will win."

The Czechs are one win away from their sixth title in eight years.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic celebrates after winning her tennis match against Sofia Kenin of the United States at the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic celebrates after winning her tennis match against Sofia Kenin of the United States at the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

U.S. captain captain Kathy Rinaldi gave credit to the Czech players but said, "I really think we could have been up 2-0, too.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic celebrates with team captain Petr Pala after winning her tennis match against Sofia Kenin of the United States at the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic celebrates with team captain Petr Pala after winning her tennis match against Sofia Kenin of the United States at the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

"It was just a day of missed opportunities in my opinion. Anything can happen in the Fed Cup and tomorrow's another day."

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic celebrates after winning her tennis match against Sofia Kenin of the United States at the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic celebrates after winning her tennis match against Sofia Kenin of the United States at the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

To win, the 18-time champion U.S. would have to become the first team to come back from 2-0 down in the final.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic reacts after scoring a point against Sofia Kenin of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic reacts after scoring a point against Sofia Kenin of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

In Sunday's reverse singles, Kenin will go against Siniakova, and Riske will meet Strycova.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic hits a forehand to Sofia Kenin of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic hits a forehand to Sofia Kenin of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

In doubles, the last match of the final, Riske and Danielle Collins are scheduled to meet No. 1-ranked pair Barbora Krejcikova and Siniakova on the indoor hard-court.

Sofia Kenin of the United States reacts after scoring a point against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Sofia Kenin of the United States reacts after scoring a point against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

Siniakova broke Riske for 6-5 in the second set but the 63rd -ranked American forced a tiebreaker.

Sofia Kenin of the United States returns the ball to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Sofia Kenin of the United States returns the ball to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

The Czech dominated it, converting the second match point when Riske sent a backhand wide.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic struggles to return the ball to Sofia Kenin of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic struggles to return the ball to Sofia Kenin of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

"I was just enjoying the moment and trying to play my game," Siniakova said. "I was enjoying the atmosphere and everything. It was amazing for me."

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic reacts after scoring a point against Sofia Kenin of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic reacts after scoring a point against Sofia Kenin of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

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

Sofia Kenin of the United States returns with a backhand to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Sofia Kenin of the United States returns with a backhand to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

Riske is the only player on the U.S. team who has previously played in the Fed Cup. The Williams sisters, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys all withdrew.

Sofia Kenin of the United States reacts after scoring a point against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Sofia Kenin of the United States reacts after scoring a point against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

The Czechs are weakened, too, missing their two top-10 players. Karolina Pliskova was ruled out due to injuries and Petra Kvitova due to illness.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic celebrates after winning her tennis match against Sofia Kenin of the United States at the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic celebrates after winning her tennis match against Sofia Kenin of the United States at the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

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. She has won four Fed Cups.

In this picture shot with a slow shutter speed, Sofia Kenin of the United States returns the ball to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
In this picture shot with a slow shutter speed, Sofia Kenin of the United States returns the ball to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

Playing in her last tie, the 32-year-old Strycova won her match with a backhand winner at the net on her first match point to improve to 11-7 in Fed Cup singles.

Sofia Kenin of the United States serves to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Sofia Kenin of the United States serves to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

"I'm so happy that I could win today in front of such a crowd," Strycova said. "It's funny because it's her (Kenin) first one, and this is my last one, so for me it was a lot of emotions."

Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic serves to Alison Riske of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic serves to Alison Riske of the United States during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

Both players made 32 unforced errors and the American had 23 winners — two more than Strycova — but the Czech made her experience count in the decisive points.

Alison Riske of the United States serves to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Alison Riske of the United States serves to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

"For my Fed Cup debut, I was pretty nervous but I was able to handle it once I stepped on the court," Kenin said. "The atmosphere was just incredible."

Sofia Kenin, left, and Danielle Collins of the United States cheer on their teammate Alison Riske of the United States playing Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in a tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Sofia Kenin, left, and Danielle Collins of the United States cheer on their teammate Alison Riske of the United States playing Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in a tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

___

Alison Riske of the United States returns the ball to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Alison Riske of the United States returns the ball to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)

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Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Alison Riske of the United States in their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Alison Riske of the United States in their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Alison Riske of the United States in their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Alison Riske of the United States in their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Alison Riske of the United States in their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Alison Riske of the United States in their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)
Alison Riske of the United States returns the ball to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Alison Riske of the United States returns the ball to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic during their tennis match of the Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and United States in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (AP)