Tennis: Czechs lead Germany 1-0 in Fed Cup final

PRAGUE - Petra Kvitova handed the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead over Germany in the Fed Cup final in Prague on Saturday after breezing past Andrea Petkovic in straight sets in the opening rubber.

Kvitova, the Czech number one player and world number four, swept Germany's number two Petkovic 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 17 minutes.

The Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova will next take on Germany's Angelique Kerber.

On the superfast hardcourt of Prague's O2 Arena, Wimbledon champion Kvitova leaned on her serve and aggressive play in the first set.

The 24-year-old Czech first broke Petkovic's serve in game two after the German world number 14 produced two double faults, then snatched another break for a 5-1 lead.

Serving to win the set, Kvitova lost concentration and squandered a set point, which combined with two double faults on her part handed Petkovic a break.

But the 27-year-old German let Kvitova break her again for a 6-2 win.

In the second set, both players first allowed a break apiece, then held onto their serves until game 10, in which Kvitova snatched a break point and converted it as Petkovic fired long from Kvitova's backhand slice.

"I'm just glad that I did everything well," Kvitova said after the game.

"She tried to play a little bit better at the end of the first set and it was just important that I had a break back." "It was really tight in the second set and I was looking for the moment when it was going to be very close and that's going to be my chance."

Petkovic, who came to Prague just after winning a WTA tournament in Sofia, admitted she was "obviously more nervous in Fed Cup than in normal matches" but paid a tribute to Kvitova for her performance.

"I wasn't playing badly, she was just so much better in each and every department." "The main difference was that she served better and returned better. It was difficult for me to take the initiative," said Petkovic.

In Sunday's reverse singles, Kvitova will face Kerber and Safarova will take on Petkovic.

If the finals come down to a doubles rubber, Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka are due to play against Germany's Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki.

The Czechs are eyeing their third Fed Cup win in four years after lifting the trophy in 2011 and 2012.

Germany are looking for their first title since 1992, when a team led by Steffi Graf and current captain Barbara Rittner won the title.