The 2016 Fed Cup is the 54th edition of the most important tournament between national teams in women's tennis. Having at its start the best 8 teams in the world, this year’s competition has been so far one of the most spectacular of history. 4 of the 6 matches played until the final were won with the score of 3-2. Six of the eight teams who take the start in the first round have or had in 2016 a player into the top 10.
In the final meeting of this year Czech Republic and France will meet in Strasbourg, France. The head-to-head record of these 2 teams is tied at 3 all, last meeting took place in Fed Cup 2015 semifinals and at that time Czech won by 3-1. On that occasion Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova won the first three rubbers to put the tie beyond reach, but the French team has improved since then and is likely to present a tougher challenge this time round.
The final of this year’s competition is scheduled in the second weekend of November between 12th and 13th. The event will take place at Rhenus Sport Arena on hard indoor courts. The deadline for official team nominations is 10 days before the tie begins. This will be the first ever Fed Cup final that these two teams play against each other, the most advanced stage of competition they met is the semifinals (2015 and 1975). The last meeting between France and Czech Republic which took place in France needed decisive doubles match to be finished.
On its road to the final, the world number 1 and the last year champion, Czech Republic, improved their winning streak matches record to 8 consecutive wins since the beginning of 2014. In both matches of 2016 Czech team played, they needed the decisive point to be taken in the doubles match (Pliskova/Strycova got the point in the opening round against Romania while in the semifinal match against Switzerland the decisive pairing was Pliskova/Hradecka). Against France, Czech team captain Petr Pala has a lot of players to make a choice including top 20 singles players Kvitova, Strycova, Pliskova and the top 10 doubles players Hradecka and Hlavackova. Lucie Safarova, Denisa Allertova or Kveta Peschke may be convened too.
France qualified in their 5th Fed Cup final after beating the unpredictable team of the Netherlands in the doubles rubber: 3-2. An interesting fact is that all the matches (singles and doubles) that France played this year were played by Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia. And these 2 players look to have the labouring oar against Czech Republic too. Another players that can be in the French team are Alize Cornet and Pauline Parmentier.
On a first look, the Czech Republic’s team looks to be the favorite to win its 10th Fed Cup title and the 3rd in the row as all of the best 3 ranked Czechs are better ranked that the French players. Speaking about doubles, Mladenovic and Garcia lost their only one meeting with Hradecka and Hlavackova on clay this year but the French team looked better in 2016 than the Czech one.
Who wins the Fed Cup 2016?