Lucie Safarova gave defending champion Czech Republic a flying start in the Fed Cup final against Serbia by beating Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday for a 1-0 lead.
Safarova converted her first match point with a forehand winner to seal the victory on an indoor hard court at the O2 Arena.
''After I lost both matches in the final last year, I desperately wanted to win,'' said Safarova, who improved to 4-2 against Ivanovic. ''We were both nervous at the start but I got rid of it. I was improving throughout the match. It was very important to win.''
The 12th-rankedIvanovic, a former No. 1, looked frustrated and was unable to find her rhythm throughout the match, hitting eight double-faults and making 32 unforced errors.
''I'm very very disappointed that I didn't manage to get the first point for our team,'' Ivanovic said. ''I had plenty of opportunities but I just wasn't executing when it was important. It was very frustrating.''
Serbia has been enjoying its best Fed Cup season a...