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Czech Republic leads France 1-0 in Fed Cup semis

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (AP) — Lucie Safarova saved five match points before beating Caroline Garcia 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-1 as defending champion Czech Republic took a 1-0 lead over France in the Fed Cup semifinals Saturday.

The 13th-ranked Safarova converted her first match point with the 29th-ranked Garcia unable to return her serve.

Fourth-ranked Czech Petra Kvitova will play 58th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic later Saturday.

After winning the opening set, Garcia wasted five match points in the 10th game, allowing Safarova to stage a comeback after the Czech dominated the tiebreaker 7-1.

In the final set, Safarova, who was under pressure from big hitting Garcia in the first two sets, jumped to a decisive 5-0 lead with her first two breaks.

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