Reigning Fed Cup champions the Czech Republic have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in their tie against Australia, with world No.8 Petra Kvitova beating Sam Stosur.
Playing with a heavily-strapped right thigh for a suspected strain, Stosur took an early break in Sunday’s match but faded to lose 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.
Repeated double faults proved costly for left-handed Kvitova on the indoor hard surface in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava, but the 2011 Wimbledon champion’s dominated through her footwork.
Stosur found rhythm late in the third set, clawing back from 5-0 down, but dropped her serve in the final game.
Australia began Sunday 2-0 down after Stosur and Jarmila Gajdosova lost their respective Saturday matches to Lucie Safarova and Kvitova.
A second reverse singles between Gajdosova and Safarova will not be played under new Fed Cup “dead rubber” guidelines.
Australia’s doubles team of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua are still due to take on Czech world No.3 pair Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova.
Despite the outcome of the doubles rubber, the Czech team progresses to an April semi-final against the winner of this weekend’s tie between Italy and the USA.
The Australians face a playoff to retain a place in the top eight world group in 2014.