Maria Kirilenko does not get much of a chance to play Fed Cup by BNP Paribas as generally her Russian teammates have outranked her. This weekend she will get another chance to show that she is worthy of a place as she takes to the court in Moscow against Serbia.
Currently ranked at No.21 in the world she will bear the responsibility of being the highest ranked Russian on display after Svetlana Kuznetsova has dropped down in recent weeks. Kirilenko also has a formidable record in doubles throughout her career and so in what has the potential to be a real battle that could prove key.
Her last experience of Fed Cup came in last years where she was part of a doubles pairing with Elena Vesnina that suffered defeat in the decisive fifth rubber against Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Kveta Peschke.
The Russian admits that she finds the pressure of playing as part of a team very different from life on the Tour and she even “goes to sleep different”. It will further be her first experience of playing on an indoor clay court and she will have to adapt quickly to give her nation a chance to return to the final.
While Russia take on Serbia in Moscow, the Czech Republic will also be looking to make a second consecutive appearance in the Final when they host Italy in the other semifinal.
Maria Kirilenko (RUS) - 19/04/2012