The ITF today announced that Andrea Petkovic (GER), Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP), Olga Savchuk (UKR) and Polona Hercog (SLO) have been shortlisted for the latest Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award.
All four players competed for their nation in either the World Group play-offs or World Group II play-offs in April.
The players were shortlisted by the Heart Award judging panel, consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and a mixture of former players and members of the international media. A public vote, running on 3-24 May, is being held on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es to decide the winner, who will receive a cheque for $3,000 to be donated to her chosen charity.
The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award is a joint initiative between BNP Paribas and the ITF. It aims to recognise players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team.
A total of six Heart Awards are being presented in 2011. Earlier in the year, Bojana Jovanovski (SRB), Bianca Botto (PER), Ayumi Morita (JPN) and Victoria Azarenka (BLR) were recognised, and a player will also be honoured at the Final in November.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “The level of passion and excitement for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas has grown considerably during the last year, helped significantly by the outstanding commitment shown by the players.
“I would like to congratulate Andrea, Maria Jose, Olga and Polona for being shortlisted for a Heart Award. I would also like to encourage all fans to go online and vote, as it provides a fantastic opportunity to reward the skill, effort and character of the players.”
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Andrea Petkovic (GER)
Germany 5-0 USA – Stuttgart, Germany
The charismatic Andrea Petkovic has led a Fed Cup renaissance for Germany in 2011, with comprehensive wins over Slovenia and now USA. She won both her singles rubbers against the Americans, beating Christina McHale and Melanie Oudin, to help Germany clinch a whitewash victory.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
Spain 4-1 France – Lleida, Spain
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez helped to secure an immediate return back to the World Group for Spain. The crafty left-hander, who adopts a style of play different to her peers, cleverly mixing her shots to unsettle the rhythm of opponents, recorded two singles wins, including the tie-clinching point against the higher ranked Aravane Rezai.
Olga Savchuk (UKR)
Australia 2-3 Ukraine – Melbourne, Australia
The Ukrainians were big underdogs against the Aussies, and even more so when they found themselves 2-1 behind with Olga Savchuk due on court to play Anastasia Rodionova. Savchuk obviously hadn’t read the script and proceeded to beat her higher ranked opponent. She then partnered Lesia Tsurenko to clinch an unlikely victory for Ukraine after saving two match points in the fifth rubber.
Polona Hercog (SLO)
Slovenia 3-2 Canada – Koper, Slovenia
Polona Hercog was the driving force behind Slovenia’s successful bid to maintain its place in World Group II for another year. She won all three of her rubbers, helping her team achieve a narrow 3-2 triumph. The standout victory came in Sunday’s opening rubber in the battle of the No. 1s, as she came from a set down to defeat Rebecca Marino in a closely contested clash.