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Pliskova downs Mladenovic in epic to give Czechs 1-0 lead

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Tennis - Fed Cup Final - France v Czech Republic - Strasbourg, France - 12/11/16 France's Kristina Mladenovic celebrates a point during her match against Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
Tennis - Fed Cup Final - France v Czech Republic - Strasbourg, France - 12/11/16 France's Kristina Mladenovic celebrates a point during her match against Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Karolina Pliskova overcame Kristina Mladenovic's resistance to give defending champions Czech Republic a 1-0 lead in the Fed Cup final against France with a thrilling 6-3 4-6 16-14 win on Saturday.

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

The world number six suffered late nerves, wasting two match points, but she proved the fitter player in the end, prevailing after three hours 48 minutes on the Rhenus Sport arena's hardcourt.

Double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova takes on Caroline Garcia in the second singles looking to put the Czechs, who have won four of the last five Fed Cup titles, on the brink of victory.

(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by XXXX)


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