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All forgiven as France face Czechs for Fed Cup

The Czech Republic target a fifth Fed Cup title in six years, against a French side desperate to bury a summer of in-fighting which threatened to torpedo their hopes in the final.

Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, the world's top doubles pair, were suspended by France for "unacceptable" behaviour at the Rio Olympics after blasting their own federation.

Mladenovic had taken to Twitter to vent her fury that officials had been "incompetent" when they failed to tell the players about tournament rules whereby they had to wear the same colours on court, forcing Garcia into a last-minute change of kit borrowed from her teammate.

But the pair were reinstated in September, clearing them to return for this weekend's final in Strasbourg where France will bid for a first Fed Cup since 2003.

As well as being French Open doubles champions, Garcia and Mladenovic are France's top-ranked singles players at 23 and 42 in the world.

Teammates Alize Cornet and Pauline Parmentier are 46 and 73 respectively.

TOUGH OPPONENTS

Close friends Garcia and Mladenovic have played in every Fed Cup tie this year - four singles and two doubles in the quarter-final and semi-final wins against Italy and Holland.

The Czechs, champions in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, can boast world No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, the US Open runner-up, and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, ranked 11th.

Barbora Strycova, at 20, and Grand Slam winning doubles specialist Lucie Hradecka make up the Czech squad.

"We know it will be extremely difficult, but we also know we will have chances," said Mladenovic, who has one win in two meetings against Pliskova and just one in four with Kvitova.

"We have to seize the opportunities that come our way."

The Czechs are second on the list of the most successful Fed Cup nations of all time with nine titles, behind the United States who have 17.

The final features two singles today, with reverse singles and a possibly decisive doubles rubber tomorrow. - AFP.

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