We take a look back at the best moments of what was another fantastic year for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas – at No. 3 is the return of Canada and Poland to the top flight.
Starting the year in Zone Group I there is only ever one intention – to get into World Group II. Making that a reality is a whole different kettle of fish.
First of all there is the tricky task of negotiating the week-long Zone Group events, where even the best teams have come unstuck, before playing in a best-of-five rubbers World Group II play-off in what can be a far flung destination.
Two teams that navigated their way out of zonals and into the top 16 nations in 2013 were Canada and Poland.
Let’s start with the Canadians. As well as it being a fine year for the team as a whole it was also a rather splendid 2013 for the shining light of the North American team – Eugenie Bouchard.
The 19-year-old former Junior Wimbledon champion was undefeated in four singles rubbers in Americas Zone Group I and was instrumental in the success of the Canadians in the play-offs against Ukraine.
Despite suffering an injury in the opening singles match of the World Group II play-off against Elina Svitolina (a match that she only just lost 67(8) 63 62), Bouchard bounded back on the Sunday to win her reverse singles rubber and then teamed up with Sharon Fichman to clinch the decisive point.
If Canada is to have any hope of maintaining its place among the top nations they will be reliant on more performances like this from the talented Bouchard.
Another player who was key to her team’s fortunes in 2013 was Agnieszka Radwanska. The popular Pole played six singles and two doubles (with her sister Urszula) and went undefeated all year.
Poland has been battling to get back into the big time since 2011 and with Radwanska leading the team there is every chance they will earn promotion once more to move into the World Group in 2015.
Radwanska was in fine form in the play-offs against Belgium and made light work of Alison van Uytvanck before sealing a tough victory over Kirsten Flipkens to win the first two points for the eastern Europeans.
If Polish captain Thomas Wiktorowski can ensure his famous siblings continue to play, next year could be even better.