The Czech Republic strengthened its near-monopoly on international women's tennis by narrowly beating France in Strasbourg. Czech women have won five of the last six Fed Cup crowns, and 10 overall.
Fed Cup powerhouse the Czech Republic finished off a stiff French challenge in the decisive doubles match on Sunday in Strasbourg to win the 2016 title.
Karolina Pliskova and Barova Strycova beat France's Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenivoc 7-5, 7-5 - with the match equal at 2-2 after the singles games.
"It's a wonderful day. It was not easy that's why we're so happy," said Pliskova afterwards. "The secret was to go out there and fight for every point. We fought until the end."
Pliskova had showed similar mettle in her singles marathon against Mladenovic on Saturday, winning 6-3, 4-6, 16-14 - in the longest third set in Fed Cup history.
Five out of six ain't bad
Gunning for their first international title since 2003, France fell just short.
The Czechs, meanwhile, have dominated the competition under captain Petr Pala since 2010 - winning every year except for 2013.
The country also has a near-perfect 10 for 11 hit-rate in its Fed Cup finals down the years, only losing the one contentious final in 1986 to the US. Back then, defector Martina Navratilova returned with the US ladies to defeat her country of origin.
The Czech Republic boasts a rounded selection of top-drawer players to combine in such a tournament, with Pliskova currently a top-10 player, along with double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and doubles ace Strycova.
msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)