Tennis: Garcia upsets Kvitova to level Fed Cup final

France's Caroline Garcia reacts to defeating the Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova. Photo / AP
France's Caroline Garcia reacts to defeating the Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova. Photo / AP

Caroline Garcia stunned Petra Kvitova 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 as France levelled the Fed Cup final 1-1 against champions Czech Republic after Karolina Pliskova won an epic first singles.

Garcia produced an aggressive performance to down dual Wimbledon champion Kvitova. The Czech threatened a comeback in the second set but the Frenchwoman was too hot and closed it out on her second match point.

In the opening rubber Karolina Pliskova overcame Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic's resistance to give defending champions Czech Republic a 1-0 lead with a thrilling 6-3 4-6 16-14 win.

"I feel fresh, I'm really happy ... I was waiting for my chances," Pliskova said.

"She served well in the third set, I'm just happy with the win.

"I was looking at the score and counting the games. It was an unbelievable match from both of us.

My tennis was not 100 per cent - but we got the first point. I will be ready tomorrow if the team needs me."

US Open finalist Pliskova seemed to be cruising towards a straight sets victory after breezing through the first set but then lost her focus in the second to allow Mladenovic back in the contest.

The world No.6 suffered late nerves, wasting two match points, but she proved the fitter player in the end, prevailing after three hours and 48 minutes on the Rhenus Sport arena's hardcourt.

Mladenovic takes on Kvitova and world No.23 Garcia plays Pliskova in Sunday's reverse singles ahead of the doubles.

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