France beats the Netherlands 3-2 to reach Fed Cup final
TRELAZE, France (AP) Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic beat Kiki Bertens and Richel Hogenkamp 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a decisive doubles match on Sunday as France rallied from 2-1 down against the Netherlands to win 3-2 and reach its first Fed Cup final in 11 years.
Two-time champion France, which lost to Russia in the 2005 final, will face the Czech Republic in November.
The Dutch will have regrets after Bertens beat Mladenovic 7-5, 6-4 in the opening reverse singles to improve her outstanding Fed Cup record to 15-1 in singles.
Bertens had 10 aces and broke Mladenovic's serve five times. Mladenovic briefly rallied from 5-2 down in the second set, but Bertens closed out victory on serve.
''She was very solid, especially on her serve and she was better than me today,'' Mladenovic said. ''I take my hat off to her. Throughout the match she served practically on the line all the time.''
For the second reverse singles, Dutch captain Paul Haarhuis swapped Hogenkamp and replaced her with Arantxa Rus, who had initially been scheduled to play doubles alongside Cindy Burger.
But Rus lost 6-3, 6-4 to Garcia as France leveled at 2-2.
Garcia, who lost to Bertens in the opening singles on Saturday, broke Rus twice in the first set.
Rus started the second set strongly, breaking twice in succession to lead 3-0 but Garcia pulled back to 3-3 and broke again to level the match.
Instead of Rus-Burger in doubles, Haarhuis selected Bertens - his form player - alongside the more rested Hogenkamp.
It almost worked as the Dutch took the first set, breaking the French pair twice.
The second set was tense, with the French pair saving the only break point they faced and taking the only one they got on the Dutchwomen's serve.
The Dutch pressured strongly in the deciding set of the tie but failed to convert six break-point chances, while the clinical Frenchwomen converted both of theirs.