The Czech Republic has been the dominant team in the Fed Cup in the last eight years or so, winning five of the last seven titles and looking good to add another one on Sunday after taking a 2-0 lead over the defending champions us in front of the packed O2 Arena in Prague! Making her debut, 19-year-old Kenin pushed Barbora Strycova to three sets on Saturday, before Riske lost to Siniakova, 6-3, 7-6 (2).
US Danielle Rose Collins, right, talks to her teammate Sofia Kenin, left, during a training session prior to the final match of the Fed Cup between Czech Republic and United States of America in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
Siniakova, who won the French Open and Wimbledon doubles titles with her Czech team mate Barbora Krejcikova this season, proved too much in the end for the Russian-born Kenin, who cried after the match and was consoled by her team mates.
The Czechs are one win away from their sixth title in eight years. The US, whose head-to-head record against the Czechs is now 10-3, were missing Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Madison Keys.
Petra Kvitova was also out for the Czech Republic because of an illness but could play on Sunday.
"Chances are still there (for me to play)", Kvitova said after the draw on Friday.
The clash will begin with Kenin taking on Barbora Strycova before Riske faces Katerina Siniakova.
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Strycova carried the momentum into the third and withstood a late challenge from the American for a resilient victory - the first time in her distinguished Fed Cup career that she had fought back from a set down to win a singles rubber. Only Alison Riske has participated before, in three ties.
Siniakova cruised through the first set of her encounter with Riske, forging ahead through a pair of breaks after indulging in groundstrokes and long rallies.
Riske is the only player on the US team who has previously played in the Fed Cup.
The final this year features the two most successful teams in the tournament's history, with the usa lifting the trophy 18 times. She won all four of her singles in the Fed Cup.
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.
"For me it was a lot of emotions".
Strycova, who was tearful during the national anthems, said: "It's amusing because it's her first tie and my last one". "I'm so happy that I could win today in front of such a crowd", Strycova said. "The atmosphere was just incredible".