Romania reached the Fed Cup semi-finals for the first time on Sunday with a 3-2 win over defending champions Czech Republic as Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu stunned Wimbledon and French Open winners Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in a marathon doubles decider.
Begu and Niculescu triumphed 6-7 (2/7) 6-4 6-4 in a thrilling rubber in Ostrava which lasted just seven minutes short of three hours.
Krejcikova and Siniakova, the world's leading pair, trailed a break early in the final set before hitting back to 4-4. But the Romanian pair broke straight back for 5-4 before Begu, ranked at 35 in doubles, served out the tie.
Earlier Simona Halep won the battle of the former world number ones with an epic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 triumph over Karolina Pliskova, the Czechs' highest-ranked player in the absence of world number three Petra Kvitova.
"I am happy to have won against such a tough opponent," said Halep after winning her second singles of the weekend.
"It was my best and biggest win in the Fed Cup." Siniakova, who won both her singles rubbers in the 2018 final triumph over the United States, pulled the Czechs level by seeing off Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-4, 6-2.
French number one Garcia brushed aside Belgium's top player Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-3 to follow her opening day three-set win over Alison Van Uytvanck. Her win gave two-time champions France an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie before Belgium grabbed a consolation point in the dead doubles rubber.
"Two years is not that long in a tennis career," said Garcia who opted out of the Fed Cup in 2017 following an ugly public spat with her teammates.
"But I always said that I would come back and that it was important to me."
At Asheville in North Carolina, Ashleigh Barty notched up a 10th successive win in the tournament by seeing off Madison Keys 6-4, 6-1 to give Australia a 2-1 lead over 18-time champions the United States.
"I am so happy and our team is so happy. It's unbelievable to win," said the 20-year-old Sabalenka who dropped just five games in four sets all weekend. The semi-finals take place on the weekend of April 20-21.
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