Pliskova wins epic Fed Cup encounter

After nearly four hours on court and the longest set in Fed Cup history, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic overcame France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 4-6, 16-14 as the two countries finished the first day of the final locked at 1-1.

With both players desperate to secure the first point of this year's Fed Cup decider for their respective countries, it was clear neither was going to give an inch. The duo are good friends off the court, but had to set that aside for the all important match.

Pliskova was quickest out of the blocks, winning the first set comfortably courtesy of three breaks to one.

But Mladenovic hit back in the second, breaking for a 4-3 lead and then again a couple of games later after Pliskova had returned the favour.

With the scores tied at a set apiece, it set the stage for the epic third and final set that was to come.

Pliskova was the first to pounce in game six for a 4-2 lead, only to surrender a break of her own when serving for the match at 5-3.

From that point on, both players remained resolute on serve as the match wore on and on, with no tie-break in sight to bring an early end to proceedings. 

Pliskova had two break and match points at 8-9, but Mladenovic saved them both before claiming what she must have thought was the decisive break at 11-11.

Pliskova broke straight back in the following game to level the scores once more at 12-12, however, as the match continued.

With Mladenovic serving to stay in the match at 14-15, the pressure finally told. Pliskova pounced to open up a 0-40 lead against her weary opponent, and this time she was able to clinch the result on her first match point.

The second match of the day saw Petra Kvitova up against Carolina Garcia, and while the odds heavily favoured a Kvitova victory and a 2-0 lead for the Czechs, that was not how it turned out.

Buoyed by her home fans in Strasbourg, Garcia secured a 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 victory over her much higher ranked opponent to leave the Fed Cup tie wide open heading into the second day.