February 12, 2017 / 7:10 PM / 5 months ago

Czechs make light of Kvitova absence to reach Fed Cup semis

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Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 25/1/17 Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova reacts during her Women's singles quarter-final match against Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.Thomas Peter

(Reuters) - Champions the Czech Republic made light of the absence of Petra Kvitova as they eased into the Fed Cup semi-finals for a ninth year in succession with a 3-2 defeat of Spain on Sunday.

After the opening day of the tie in Ostrava had been shared 1-1, world number three Karolina Pliskova powered past French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 6-2 6-2 before Barbora Strycova beat Lara Arruabarrena 6-4 6-4.

Strycova dedicated the win to double Wimbledon champion Kvitova who is recovering from a serious hand injury sustained during an attempted robbery at her home late last year.

"Of course we are thinking about her every day and we were talking to her," Strycova said. "Of course this was for her. We hope she comes back and we will welcome her with open arms."

Belarus also reached the semi-finals without the services of their top player Victoria Azarenka, who has just had a baby.

They beat the Netherlands 4-1 with 18-year-old Aryna Sabalenka securing the decisive point on her debut.

They will face Switzerland in the semis after they beat France 3-1. The Czechs will face the United States, who beat Germany 4-0 in Hawaii.

Reporting by Martyn Herman, additional reporting by Andrew Both; editing by Pritha Sarkar

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