Ostrava, Czech Republic: Reigning Wimbledon champion and world number three Petra Kvitova put holders Czech Republic through to the Fed Cup final by beating Italy's Francesca Schiavone here on Sunday.
Kvitova handed the Czechs an unbeatable 3-0 lead after seeing off Schiavone 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) in an hour and 47 minutes.
"It was an extremely tough game, Francesca managed to surprise me," the 22-year-old Kvitova told the public Czech TV.
Kvitova took a 3-0 lead in the first set, then lost four straight games and finally came back for a 6-4 win.
In the second, Kvitova had to come back from 3-5 before trashing the 31-year-old Schiavone in the tie-break.
"It's clear you won't play the entire game in top form," she said.
"She started to play well when she was 3-0 down in the first set, and her returns were terribly long and terribly hard to handle," added Kvitova, who has been sidelined with an illness and injury for most of the past two months.
"I handled the two rubbers quite well. The main thing is I won both," she said.
On Saturday, Lucie Safarova beat Schiavone 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 and Kvitova breezed past Sara Errani 6-4, 6-3.
In the November finals, the Czech Republic will host either Russia or Serbia, who are playing simultaneously in Moscow.
The Czechs beat Russia 3-2 in Moscow last November to win their first Fed Cup trophy since their country split with Slovakia in 1993.
In the last singles rubber of the semi-final tie, Czech Andrea Hlavackova will take on Sara Errani.
Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka are then due to face Errani and Roberta Vinci in the doubles, but the teams may change.