Russia and Czech Republic go head-to-head in this year’s Final after the two nations came through their semifinal ties in contrasting styles. The Russians cruised to a 5-0 victory over two-time defending champions Italy in Moscow, while the Czechs edged past Belgium 3-2 in a hard fought contest in Charleroi.
Russia’s whitewash of Italy was made easier due to the absence of Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta. In contrast, the hosts welcomed back Vera Zvonareva alongside Svetlana Kuznetsova, and the two Russian stars made light work of their opposition, despite a spirited performance from Roberta Vinci.
After a pair of singles wins for Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic was twice pegged back by Belgium, so the tie headed into a deciding doubles rubber. The familiar pairing of Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova successfully teamed up for the guests, defeating Yanina Wickmayer and Kirsten Flipkens in straight sets.
Russia and Czech Republic have played each other four times and are locked at two wins apiece, but only one of these ties has been played since they became independent nations, when Russia won 2-1 in 2001. The Russians have lifted the Fed Cup trophy on four occasions during a dominant period in the mid-2000s. The Czechs were crowned champions five times between 1975 and 1988 under the flag of Czechoslovakia.