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Jubilant Czechs clinch 'amazing' Fed Cup title defense

updated 3:30 PM EST, Sun November 4, 2012
Czech Fed Cup members (from left) Lucie Hradecka, Andrea Hlavackova, Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova celebrate Sunday's victory on their home courts in Prague.
Czech Fed Cup members (from left) Lucie Hradecka, Andrea Hlavackova, Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova celebrate Sunday's victory on their home courts in Prague.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Czech Republic women's team wins Fed Cup final for second successive year
  • Lucie Safarova clinches an unassailable 3-1 lead with win over Ana Ivanovic
  • The former Czechoslovakia won the title five times up until 1988
  • David Ferrer wins his first ATP Masters title with Sunday's victory in Paris final

(CNN) -- Czech tennis fans are enjoying an uplift in fortunes not seen since before the Velvet Revolution more than 30 years ago.

The Czech Republic's women's team lifted the Fed Cup title for the second year in a row on Sunday -- echoing the achievements of the all-conquering Czechoslovakia team led by Martina Navratilova in the 1980s.

Lucie Safarova clinched the winning point against Serbia to spark joyous scenes in Prague, beating former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-1 6-1 to establish an unassailable 3-1 lead in the final.

"Here at home in this type of crowd, it's indescribable, it's an amazing feeling," said Safarova, ranked 17th in the world.

"There are so many emotions and happiness -- and that is the feeling we are practicing for every day, even if you're not in the mood to work."

Fed Cup fever hits Prague

Ana Ivanovic will face Lucie Safarova in the opening rubber of the 2012 Fed Cup. The Czech holds a 3-2 lead over Ivanovic and recently defeated her in Sydney. Ivanovic said: "It's going to be a tough match -- I had a tough loss against her in Sydney so hopefully I can play better and get revenge." Ana Ivanovic will face Lucie Safarova in the opening rubber of the 2012 Fed Cup. The Czech holds a 3-2 lead over Ivanovic and recently defeated her in Sydney. Ivanovic said: "It's going to be a tough match -- I had a tough loss against her in Sydney so hopefully I can play better and get revenge."
Ana's ready for action
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Andy Murray gets his hands on a grand slam trophy at last as he beats Novak Djokovic of Serbia to win the 2012 U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows.<br/><br/> Andy Murray gets his hands on a grand slam trophy at last as he beats Novak Djokovic of Serbia to win the 2012 U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows.

Grand slam triumph at last
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The Czechs had led 2-0 after Saturday's opening rubbers, but the Serbs stayed in the match when Ana Ivanovic -- another former No. 1 -- defeated last year's Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 7-5.

"I didn't have a lot of energy and it was obvious on the court," said Kvitova, who won her opening match against Jankovic despite an illness which ended her title defense at last month's WTA Championships in Istanbul.

"I tried to play only for a few shots, I couldn't play for longer, and that's why I started to have mistakes."

The Czechs became the third successive nation to defend the title following Italy (2009-10) and Russia (2007-08).

Counting the five won by the old Czechoslovakia up until 1988, it matched the seven held by Australia -- second overall, but 10 shy of the United States.

Last year's victory was the first since the split with Slovakia in 1993.

Meanwhile, David Ferrer lifted his first ATP Masters title after ending the giant-killing run of Jerzy Janowicz in Sunday's Paris final.

The fifth-ranked Spaniard won 6-4 6-3 to become the first player outside the world's top four to win a Masters 1000 tournament since Robin Soderling in the same event two years ago.

Poland's 69th-ranked Janowicz had earlier upset world No. 3 Andy Murray and No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic on his way to his first Masters final.

It was Ferrer's seventh title this season -- the most by any men's player -- and sets him up for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals starting in London on Monday.

He will be in action in Tuesday's evening session against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, after defending champion Roger Federer plays Tipsarevic in the opening Group B tie.

Olympic and U.S. Open champion Murray will launch the tournament on Monday against sixth-ranked Czech Tomas Berdych.

Novak Djokovic, whose return to world No. 1 will be confirmed on Monday, will then face France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in another Group A clash.

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