The Czech Republic reached the Fed Cup semifinals for the sixth straight year when they came from 2-1 down to beat hosts Spain 3-2 in their rain-affected tie on Monday.
The Czech Republic, champions in 2011 and 2012, will host Italy in April, when Australia will welcome Germany.
Spain led 1-0 coming into Monday, having won the opening singles on Saturday before rain delayed the rest of the ties.
Klara Zakopalova, down a set when rain stopped her singles on Sunday, finished off Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 first on Monday, but could not hold the momentum when she returned to the outdoor clay-court against Carla Suarez Navarro, who won her second singles 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Lucie Safarova, who was too ill on Friday to be play, benefited from the extra day of rest as she beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 to even the tie and make the doubles the decider.
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Andrea Hlavackova, a first-time pair in the Fed Cup, clinched it for the Czech side when they won 7-6 (7), 6-3 over another team on debut, Suarez Navarro, who had not played cup doubles in six years, and Soler-Espinosa, who was playing her first cup doubles.
US NATIONAL INDOOR
AFP, MEMPHIS, Tennessee
Czech Jiri Vesely made short work of fifth-seeded Marinko Matosevic on Monday with a straight-sets win over the Australian in the first round of the US National Indoor Tennis Championships.
Vesely, ranked 81st in the world, defeated the 54th-ranked Matosevic 6-3, 6-2, converting four of his seven break point chances to notch his second ATP Tour match win.
Matosevic, who reached the Memphis semi-finals last year in his event debut, was not the only seed to fall on the first day of competition in the US$647,675 tournament.
Reigning champion Kei Nishikori of Japan is the top seed in the tournament, will not launch his title defense until the second round after enjoying a first-round bye along with fourth-seeded Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan, second-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez and third seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.
Last year, Nishikori did not drop a set en route to the title, beating Lopez in the final 6-2, 6-3.
He arrives in Tennessee for his title defense fresh from helping Japan reach the Davis Cup World Group quarter-finals for the first time with a 4-1 first-round victory over Canada earlier this month.
Also on Monday, US veteran Michael Russell rallied from a set down to beat seventh-seeded Michal Przysiezny of Poland 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Russell, 35, posted his first ATP match win of 2014 and next faces American Tim Smyczek, who beat rising Australian talent Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-3.
AP, BUENOS AIRES
Third-seeded Tommy Robredo reached the second round of the Copa Claro clay-court tournament with a 6-4, 6-4 win over fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta on Monday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Robredo, ranked No. 16, bounced back from an upset loss to Leonardo Mayer in the second round of the Royal Guard Open in Chile last week to down Carreno Busta in 1 hour, 25 minutes.
On a day filled mostly with qualifying matches, fifth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain also entered the second round with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 win over Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, while Guido Pella of Argentina defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 7-6 (6), 6-4 to advance.
Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 6-2, while Spaniard Pablo Andujar came back to beat Argentine Federico Delbonis 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Spain’s David Ferrer is top seed, followed by Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
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