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09 August 2013

Dominant forces to contest Fed Cup Final


NEWS ARTICLE

The Italian and Russian teams at this year's World Group semifinals

Italy and Russia have arguably been the two most consistent nations in Fed Cup by BNP Paribas over the past decade.

The Russians won their first Fed Cup title in 2004 and have gone on to lift the trophy a further three times (2005, 2007-08) while also finishing runner up in 2011.

Italy, meanwhile, have secured three wins, with their first coming against Belgium in 2006, before defeating USA in back-to-back finals in 2009 and 2010.

Therefore, this year's final features nations which have not only dominated the competition between 2005 and 2010, but who between them have contested every final since 2005 with the exception of last year's denouement between Czech Republic and Serbia.

What does that mean? Simply put fans going to the Tennis Club Cagliari in Sardinia will be able to expect to see two nations at they very top of their game.

Russia, with its strength in depth, have players in abundance from which to choose to contest the final and there has been much speculation about the team that Shamil Tarpischev will choose for November's showpiece.

For Italy, it's likely to be the same 'awesome foursome' that have contested their country's previous two appearances in the final but interestingly the dynamic of the quartet has completely changed.

Whereas in 2009 and 2010 Corrado Barazzutti's team was reliant on the singles skill of Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta, the make-up of the 2013 outfit puts much more pressure on the doubles duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who have become forces in their own right in the singles game.

Russia and Italy are also in fifth and sixth place respectively on the honour roll for most Fed Cup titles won. A triumph for the former would move them into joint-fourth with Spain on five titles, while victory for the latter puts them in joint-fifth with their opponents on four titles.

Neither nation will be worrying about the record books, however, when it comes to November 3-4. The only thing that matters is winning. And with both teams having proven they can withstand the pressure of the big stage it should be a final fit for the 50th year of Fed Cup.

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