The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off concluded on Sunday as the Czech Republic got the best of Canada by a score of 4-0 at the Agrofert Arena in Prostejov. The tie was won after Rebecca Marino fell to Marketa Vondrousova in the third singles match.
The final day of action began with the two No. 1 players from each nation facing each other. After falling to Karolina Muchova the day before, Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) was back on the court to face Marketa Vondrousova, the current world no. 47. This was the first meeting of their careers. In the opening set, Marino went down an early break, but played more consistently in the subsequent games. The Canadian would drop the first set, but came out flying in the second, breaking Vondrousova’s opening service game. She held her lead for the majority of the set, but her opponent’s resilience and hard hitting brought that score back to even. Marino came close to keeping her nation’s hopes for a comeback alive, but ultimately came up short. She fell by a score of 6-3, 6-4.
“Compared to yesterday, I feel like I played a much better match. My level improved and I felt a lot more comfortable out there on the court. I think the fact that I had the experience of playing in the match yesterday and getting a feel for the crowd and the conditions on the court were beneficial for me. It was definitely a Fed Cup atmosphere out there and I am very proud to have been a part of it. I look forward to continuing to represent Canada in the years to come,” said Marino after the loss.
With the tie having already been won, the fourth singles match was not disputed. In doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, ON) and Sharon Fichman (Toronto, ON) teamed up for the first time since 2016 to take on the Czech team of Barbora Krejcikova, the world no. 2 in doubles, and Lucie Safarova, who was playing in her final Fed Cup tie. The Canadian duo dropped a tight first set in a tiebreak, but got off to a great start in the second. Dabrowski and Fichman put up a valiant effort, but a late break made the difference and they fell 7-6(4), 7-5.
As a result of the tie, the Czech Republic retains its position in the World Group while Canada goes back down to World Group II for 2020. The Canadian squad’s attempt to move back into the elite group will have to wait until next year. Their vision to become one of the top 8 nations in the world will continue as they are back in action next February.
“I am very pleased with the way Rebecca fought today, her game improved from yesterday. If she can keep up that level of play, she will continue to move up the rankings and get good results. This weekend was a great learning experience for all of our players, especially for the young Leylah. She proved that she can hang with the top players and I think she will accomplish great things in the years to come,” said El Tabakh. “Today’s doubles match featured some high quality tennis and I am incredibly proud of how well our girls played together, despite not having teamed up for a little while. Overall, I am pleased with the way the team competed this weekend and I am already looking forward to our next tie.”