Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Strycova clinched a thrilling Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final in the deciding doubles rubber against France to win a fifth title in the last six years The Czech duo won the fifth rubber 75 75 against Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic to propel their captain Petr Pala into the record books.
The tall skipper is now the most successful captain in the history of the competition having led his team to five titles.
“Of course I am very proud. It was the most unbelievable weekend of tennis. We were just a bit more lucky, but the French put up a stunning performance because we were the favourites on paper. I don’t think we were favourites for the doubles, but you never know what you’re going to get in the team competition.
“There were ups and downs but I tried not to show it. The girls were really close at 4-4 in the second set but they turned it around unbelievably and hit some great shots in the end.”
For the second straight year and for the fourth tie in a row the Czechs sealed victory in the deciding doubles.
Pliskova and Strycova, who also powered the Czechs to victory in the final in 2015, proved more clinical at the pivotal moments as the occasion perhaps proved too much for the young French pair in front of a fervent home crowd.
“Unbelievable. We don’t have words yet, we are going to celebrate. The feeling is something so special, even if it’s our fifth title. It’s really unbelievable.
“It was a huge day, but we made all three points which is something really special. Today was tough but in the end it’s a fairytale.”
“It’s one of the best trophies I am going to win. I am going to place it next to the one from last year.
“I mean, we won so I feel fine. I have holidays now so it doesn’t matter if I am tired or not. I left everything here and I am really happy that we won.”
Earlier in the day France moved into a 2-1 lead after Garcia put in a great performance to oust Czech No. 1 Pliskova 63 36 63. Alize Cornet was unable to clinch the vital third point against the higher-ranked Strycova in the second of the reverse singles rubbers and so it was the doubles that would prove decisive once again.