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02 November 2011

Pre-tie analysis: Russia v Czech Republic


NEWS ARTICLE

By 

  • Manuel Brocos

Vera Zvonareva (RUS) and Petra Kvitova (CZE)


Russia and Czech Republic go head-to-head in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final. The tie is being held at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow (Russia) on 5-6 November.


Road to Final

Russia beat the current champions Italy in the semifinal tie held in Moscow. The Italians arrived in Russia with a weakened side due to the absence of their No. 1 player Francesca Schiavone while Russia fielded a star-filled team led by Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Russia achieved a 2-0 lead on the first day with the winning point coming on Sunday after a resounding 64 62 victory by Russia's No. 1 Zvonareva over her Italian counterpart Roberta Vinci. The two remaining dead rubbers were also won by Russia, leaving an overall score of 5-0.

 

Czech Republic booked their place in the final after a nail-biting semifinal tie against Belgium in Charleroi. Petra Kvitova put her team ahead in the first and second days but Barbora Zahlavova Strycova lost her two singles matches, first to Yanina Wickmayer and then to Kirsten Flipkens, to leave everything open until the very last match. The closing doubles rubber gave Zahlavova Strycova the chance to redeem herself and, playing in partnership with Iveta Benesova, achieved the winning point with a 64 64 win over her opponents in the singles matches, Yanina Wickmayer and Kirsten Flipkens.


Team leaders

Vera Zvonareva

Zvonareva is the most consistent Russian player in recent times having finished the season in the Top 10 for four consecutive years. The Moscow-born 27-year-old returned to Fed Cup in this year's semifinal after a three year absence and has made it clear that winning this competition in front of her home crowd has become one of her main priorities.

Petra Kvitova

Kvitova has passed from being a promising young player to one of the most feared opponents in the world. The 21-year-old Czech not only won Wimbledon this year but did so showing a superiority that makes us expect more from her in the future. Her lacklustre US Open performance cast some shadows over her consistency, bu any doubts were cleared up in Istanbul last week when she won the WTA Championships.


Captains

Shamil Tarpischev

Shamil Tarpischev is the most successful captain of the modern era and a symbol of Russian tennis having captained simultaneously both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams since 2000. The veteran captain has won two Davis Cup and four Fed Cup titles in his career, a feat that no other captain has ever achieved.

Petr Pala

The Czech captain took charge of the team in 2008 and has since then achieved success after success. First, it was the promotion from World Group II to the top tier; second, making it to the World Group semifinals twice in a row; and finally, reaching the big Final. Will the title be next?


Keep an eye on...

Svetlana Kuznetsova

She may not be in the best moment of her career but she will still be the most successful tennis player at this Final with two Grand Slam titles and three Fed Cups in her trophy cabinet. If she manages to play her best tennis, as Tarpischev has pointed out, she could beat any opponent.

Kveta Peschke

Both teams have great singles players but only Czech Republic have a doubles specialist, world No. 2 Kveta Peschke. Should the tie go to the fifth rubber, the figure of this 36-year-old could be decisive for the outcome of the Final.


Fed Cup pedigree

Russia

Russia are the most successful Fed Cup team of the last decade with four titles – in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. Prior to their first title, they had lost in the Final on four occasions.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic have produced some of the finest female tennis players of all time when they competed under the flag of Czechoslovakia. Martina Navratilova, Helena Sukova or Jana Novotna are only some examples of the players that lifted five Fed Cup titles in the seventies and eighties.



Head-to-head

2 - 2

Russia and Czech Republic have met on four different occasions in Fed Cup, resulting in two victories apiece. The last clash took place in 2001 when the Russians claimed a 2-1 win.


Surface

Hard (Indoors)

Hard is arguably the favourite surface of both teams and therefore is not expected to be one of the elements that could tip the scales towards any of the sides.


Home and away

Russia

Russia have played and won all their matches at home this year and the Final will also be played in front of their crowd. The last time that a Russian Fed Cup team was beaten on home soil dates back to 2003.

Czech Republic

The Czechs away form has been rock solid this year having played all their ties on the road. The last time that the Czech Fed Cup team lost an away tie was in last year's semifinal in Italy.

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RUS Flag Russia v Czech Republic CZE Flag 5-6 Nov 2011 View details

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  • More photos

    • Vera Zvonareva (RUS) and Petra Kvitova (CZE)Czech team
    • Petra Kvitova (CZE)Czech team
    • Lucie Safarova (CZE)Press conference in Moscow
    • Russian teamVera Zvonareva (RUS)
    • Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
    • Captain Shamil Tarpischev (RUS)Maria Kirilenko (RUS)
     
 
 

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