STRASBOURG, France, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 12th Nov, 2016 ) - Karolina Pliskova defeated Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 4-6, 16-14 in a marathon opening rubber to give defending champions Czech Republic the lead in their Fed Cup final against France on Saturday. In a match lasting 12 minutes short of four hours, US Open runner-up Pliskova, the world number six, claimed victory having earlier been 5-2 up in the decider and holding two match points at 9-8.
Mladenovic, the world number 42 and a close friend of her Czech rival since the pair were 10 years old, served for the match herself at 12-11 but was unable to press home her advantage, with her challenge eventually undone by cramping. The last set was the longest to be contested in a final in the history of the tournament. Later Saturday, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the world number 11, faces 23rd-ranked Caroline Garcia in the second rubber where the Czechs look to take a step closer to a fifth Fed Cup title in six years. Kvitova, fresh from her title run at the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in China which gave her a 19th career crown, has a 2-1 lead in her head-to-head record over Garcia.