MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has sent the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final into a deciding fifth doubles rubber after defeating Lucie Safarova 62 64.
Pavlyuchenkova came into the singles line-up to replace the originally nominated Maria Kirilenko, who dropped to the bench after losing to Petra Kvitova on Saturday, and the world No. 15 repaid the faith shown in her by dominating from start to finish.
After exchanging early holds of serve, the Russian broke in the fifth game and then again in seventh, before serving out to take the first set. The second set followed a similar path as Pavlyuchenkova broke in the fifth game and continued to hold her serve.
The result means that this year's Fed Cup champions will be decided in the fifth doubles rubber, the first time this has happened at a Final since Italy defeated Belgium in 2006. The Russian duo will be Kirilenko and Elena Vesnina, while the Czech pair will be Lucie Hradecka and Kveta Peschke.
As it happened...
PAVLYUCHENKOVA WINS 6-2 6-4
Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-4 Safarova
That's the way to serve out a match. Brilliant from Pavlyuchenkova. She holds to love and seals the win with an ace. Great performance from the Russian. So the 2011 Fed Cup champions will be decided by a nail biting fifth doubles rubber...!!
Pavlyuchenkova* 6-2 5-4 Safarova
That should really have been a hold to love for Safarova but she netted an easy backhand at 40-0. Then Pavlyuchenkova comes out with a big pass and Safarova nets another backhand, and before you know it we're back to deuce. No damage done though, Safarova comes up with a couple of big serves to force Pavlyuchenkova to serve out the match.
Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 5-3 Safarova*
Pavlyuchenkova moves to within a game of victory with a comfortable hold. Her serve has caused some damage in this second set.
Pavlyuchenkova* 6-2 4-3 Safarova
Despite another double fault, her fourth, Safarova hangs in there. An inside out forehand winner at 40-30 means that Pavlyuchenkova still has work to do in this match. The Czech player isn't going down without a fight.
Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 4-2 Safarova*
Big serving gives the Russian a 40-15 lead. Safarova constructs a nice point to save the first game point, but Pavlyuchenkova's fifth ace of the match gives her a two game advantage.
Pavlyuchenkova* 6-2 3-2 Safarova
Crucial break for Pavlyuchenkova to edge ahead. She needed four break points to get it though, after it look like Safarova might dig herself out of trouble. Good atmosphere inside the Olympic Stadium now.
Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 2-2 Safarova*
Suddenly Safarova finds some form and races into a 40-15 lead with big hitting from the back. But Pavlyuchenkova digs deep and after fighting back to deuce, she secures an important hold with two big serves, the second of which was an ace out wide to the advantage court.
Pavlyuchenkova* 6-2 1-2 Safarova
Gutsy play from Safarova, clawing her way back into that game after trailing 0-30. A big point at 30-30 ended with a forehand winner from the Czech player and then a backhand return missed by a whisker on game point.
Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 1-1 Safarova*
Safarova is striking some blows from the back but in between there are too many unforced errors. She hit a winning forehand to level at 30-30 and then immediately sent a backhand sailing long in that game. A long rally at 40-30 ends in Pavlyuchenkova's favour as she gets back on level terms.
Pavlyuchenkova* 6-2 0-1 Safarova
Quick hold for Safarova. She needed that to get herself back into the match after losing five games in a row. Just what the doctor ordered for the Czech player.
FIRST SET PAVLYUCHENKOVA 6-2
Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 Safarova*
Pavlyuchenkova double faults at 15-15 then bounces straight back with an unreturnable. Two unforced errors later - a netted forehand pass and long backhand return - from Safarova and the Russian takes the first set. A deciding fifth rubber looks like it could be on the cards...
Pavlyuchenkova* 5-2 Safarova
The Russian doubles up with a second break and will now serve for the first set. At 30-40, Safarova sends a short backhand flying long. No signs of the pressure that Pavlyuchenkova must be feeling. She's coping well.
Pavlyuchenkova 4-2 Safarova*
Looks like an easy hold for Pavlyuchenkova as she cruises into a 40-0 lead. But back comes Safarova to level at deuce, courtesy of a few loose shots from her opponent. The Russian composes herself, however, and two long rallies later she has a two game lead.
Pavlyuchenkova* 3-2 Safarova
More luck for Safarova on HawkEye in that game although in the end it was to no avail. She successfully challenged at 0-30. But a backhand winner from Pavlyuchenkova and a backhand error from Safarova give the Russian the first break.
Pavlyuchenkova 2-2 Safarova*
Big ace down the middle from the Russian at 15-15, clocking 175 km/h on the speed gun. But Safarova replies by constructing a nice point, eventually coming into the net and finishing off with an overhead. A missed return from Safarova then sets up a game point and Pavlyuchenkova converts at the first time of asking with a winning backhand drive down the line, which was unsuccessfully challenged on HawkEye by her opponent.
Pavlyuchenkova* 1-2 Safarova
Safarova already looks like she's moving better than during her match with Kuznetsova yesterday. At 40-15, Pavlyuchenkova hoisted up a high lob left-handed (she's actually right handed!) and Safarova smashed it long. But it wasn't costly as the Czech player wrapped up the game on the next point.
Pavlyuchenkova 1-1 Safarova*
Double fault-itis is catching! Pavlyuchenkova pumped in a pair in that game but got away with it. After seeing three game points slip by she finally gets over the line on her fourth opportunity when Safarova nets a short forehand.
Pavlyuchenkova* 0-1 Safarova
A double fault from Safarova on the second point is a little worrying as she was plagued with DFs in yesterday's match. But the Czech player settles down and converts her second game point when a wayward forehand from Pavlyuchenkova drifts into the trams.
Pavlyuchenkova v Safarova
The two players enter the court, looking slightly nervous it has to be said, but then this is probably the biggest moment of the careers of both these players. The pressure is definitely on Pavlyuchenkova, though, only a win will be good enough to keep Russia in this Final. Safarova to serve first...
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) - 06/11/2011
Lucie Safarova (CZE) - 06/11/2011