Ana Ivanovic is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her male counterparts when Serbia travel to face defending champions Czech Republic in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final on 3-4 November.
Novak Djokovic and Co lifted the Davis Cup trophy for the first time in 2010, and now the Serbian women’s team have the chance to repeat that feat in Fed Cup.
“It looks like a big year for us,” said Ivanovic. “It’s already a great success. As much as we hoped we would get to this point, I don’t think we actually believed it that much.
“The whole country and all of us are very proud to have reached the Final. If we manage to win then we’ll be one of the few countries to have won both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup titles.”
Serbia’s route to the Final started with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Belgium in February and continued when they beat Russia by the same scoreline in April.
Ivanovic wasn’t available for the first round clash with Belgium, leaving teammate Jelena Jankovic to spearhead the challenge for the visitors at the Spiroudome in Charleroi.
Jankovic won the opening match, but a thigh injury ruled her out of action for the rest of the weekend and Belgian No. 1 Yanina Wickmayer took advantage to put the hosts 2-1 ahead.
Step up Bojana Jovanovski. The Serbian No. 2 sent the tie into a decider by defeating Kirsten Flipkens before teaming up with teenager Aleksandra Krunic to clinch a memorable three-set doubles victory against Wickmayer and Alison van Uytvanck.
Despite their fifth rubber heroics, Jovanovski and Krunic were relegated to the bench for the semifinal showdown with Russia as Ivanovic returned to the team alongside Jankovic at the Sports Palace in Moscow.
With the score level after day one, Serbia’s two big hitters - both former world No. 1s - rose to the challenge on day two. Ivanovic came from a set down to battle past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, paving the way for Jankovic to clinch the tie with victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova.
“We got together in Russia a couple of weeks ago and we played some good tennis to get through that match,” said Ivanovic. “They were tough opponents.”
Before this year, Serbia - who first played Fed Cup as an independent nation in 2007 - had never won a World Group tie, but now they’re marching on with a chance of lifting the trophy. All that stand in their way are Czech Republic, the reigning champions!
The Czechs are currently on a five-tie winning streak after winning the title last year and following up with a pair of 4-1 victories over Germany and Italy this season.
And if Serbia are to upset the odds and claim a historic triumph, Ivanovic and Jankovic will need to find a way of taming the powerful Petra Kvitova, who hasn’t lost a Fed Cup rubber for over two years.
The Czechs are yet to announce the venue for the Final, but wherever Serbia travel to they will be hoping that the journey home involves carrying some extra cargo... the Fed Cup trophy!