Halep and Pliskova ready for Fed Cup showdown with tie finely poised

Garcia beats Vekic to claim Nottingham Open title

The Fed Cup tie between Czech Republic and Romania is level at 1-1 ahead of Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep’s meeting on Sunday.

Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep are set for a blockbuster meeting on Sunday in a match that could go a long way to deciding the outcome of the Fed Cup quarter-final between Czech Republic and Romania.

World number five Pliskova gave the holders and top seeds the edge in Saturday’s opening rubber as she swatted aside Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 6-4.

But reigning French Open champion Halep responded to get her country back on level terms in Ostrava, defeating Katerina Siniakova 6-4 6-0 to leave the tie poised at 1-1 ahead of her showdown with Pliskova.

“I expect a very tough one,” said Halep. “It’s Fed Cup, so the pressure is more but it’s an open match and I think I’ll fight for that chance and I’ll be motivated, playing for my country.”

Halep holds a 6-2 record in the head to head but Pliskova is unconcerned by that statistic.

“The match starts from zero-zero, so there’s going to be a chance for both of us, never mind what happened in the past,” she said. “I just have it in my head that I beat her [in the Fed Cup three years ago] when we won.”

Meanwhile, in Liege, fourth seeds France are in control of their tie against Belgium, holding a 2-0 lead after Caroline Garcia defeated Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-2 and Alize Cornet’s 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 triumph over Elise Mertens, who will look to keep her nation’s hopes alive against Garcia on Sunday.

Belarus are in a similarly strong position, thanks to Aliaksandra Sasnovich’s 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 success over Tatjana Maria in Braunschweig combined with Aryna Sabalenka’s 6-2 6-1 demolition of Andrea Petkovic. Sabalenka will seal Belarus’ semi-final berth if she sees off Maria in the third rubber.

The last quarter-final tie to get under way was Australia’s clash with second seeds United States, who pulled level at 1-1 in front of a noisy home crowd in Asheville.

Ashleigh Barty put Australia one up with a 6-1 7-6 (7-2) win over Sofia Kenin, but Madison Keys ensured it would be all-square heading into Sunday thanks to a resounding 6-2 6-2 success over Kimberly Birrell.

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