Prague: Ana Ivanovic kept Serbia's hopes alive in the Fed Cup final as she beat Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5 here on Sunday.
Ivanovic, the world number 12, needed an hour and 46 minutes to see off world number eight Kvitova and reduce the holders' lead to 2-1.
Kvitova, sweating profusely and visibly weakened by a cold that forced her to pull out of the WTA Championship last week, lost her first rubber after an 11-game Fed Cup winning streak.
"I really started swinging from the beginning and it worked well for me so I'm very pleased," Ivanovic said.
Kvitova only fought back at the end of the second set, when she broke Ivanovic's serve for the first time and seemed on the verge of overwhelming her rival.
But Ivanovic broke back as she converted the third match point in the last game.
"It was very close, she started swinging again and getting winners down the lines, but I'm really happy I managed to stay calm," said Ivanovic.
On Saturday, Kvitova and Lucie Safarova eased past their rivals in straight sets to give the Czechs a 2-0 lead.
Safarova, the world number 17, first beat Ivanovic 6-4, 6-3 on the hardcourt of Prague's O2 Arena.
Kvitova then cruised past 22-ranked Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-1 to make it 2-0 for the hosts after day one.
Safarova will face Jankovic in the second rubber of the day.
The Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka are then due to face Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski and Aleksandra Krunic in the closing doubles rubber.
The Czech Republic are defending the trophy after they beat Russia in Moscow 3-2 in 2011.
Former Czechoslovakia, which split peacefully into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, lifted the Fed Cup five times between 1975 and 1988.
Serbia are playing their first Fed Cup final.
Story first published on: Sunday, 04 November 2012 18:44 IST