France, Belarus advance to Fed Cup semifinals

Paola Ditto
Febbraio 11, 2019

After nearly three hours, Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu prevailed against Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova to propel Romania over the finish line, wasting a 4-2 lead in the deciding set before winning eight of the last nine points for a huge celebration.

The Czechs and Romanians split their opening singles in a series in the Czech city of Ostrava. Halep improved her record against Pliskova to 7-2 to put Romania one win from advancing.

In Liege, Caroline Garcia clinched an insurmountable 3-0 lead for France over host Belgium after easing past Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-3 to set up a semifinal against Romania.

Sasnovich defeated Tatjana Maria 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 before world number nine Sabalenka beat Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-1 in just over an hour.

The ninth-ranked Sabalenka hit 18 winners compared to five for her opponent to help Belarus avenge losing to Germany 3-2 previous year in Minsk.

The winners of that tie will face last year's runners-up the United States or seven-time champions Australia after the competition's two most successful nations ended the opening day with a 1-1 draw.

Katerina Siniakova played with a lot of pressure on her back but she managed to outplay Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 26 minutes, leveling the score at 2-2 before the doubles rubber that had to decide the victor of this outstanding tie.

Garcia marked her return to the Fed Cup for the first time since the 2016 final with a couple of victories after overcoming Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-2 in the opening singles on Saturday.

In the final doubles match, Victoria Azarenka teamed up with Lidziya Marozava to beat Mona Barthel and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-1, 0-6, 11-9 to win 4-0 overall.

In the doubles, Ysaline Bonaventure and Kirsten Flipkens won a consolation point for Belgium with a 6-3, 3-6, 10-6 victory over Fiona Ferro and Pauline Parmentier to reduce the final score to 3-1.

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