Pavlyuchenkova to lead Russia against Serbia
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will face Jelena Jankovic in the
opening singles match Saturday when Russia hosts Serbia in the Fed
Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova will face
former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the second match.
Serbia has reached the semifinals of the tournament for the
first time and, with the two former No. 1-ranked players on the
team, is considered the favorite.
Russia, a four-time champion, has beaten Serbia in all three of
their previous meetings, but is without its two top players: Maria
Sharapova and Vera Zvonareva.
”It’s going to be a historic moment for us.” Jankovic said.
”Hopefully we could make it into the final. It’s been a long way
to come up to this stage (of the competition). It will be a tough
match. We are playing against Russia and in Russia.”
Ivanovic, whose was in doubt because of the flu, said she was
ready for the match.
”I think, we have really good chances (to win),” she said.
”We had good preparation and good team spirit and it’s the biggest
chance for us and we all want to make most of it.”
The last time the two teams played, in Belgrade in the first
round in 2010, Russia won 3-2.
Jankovic won both of her singles matches, while Ivanovic lost
twice, and the two players then were beaten by the Russian duo of
Kuznetsova and Alisa Kleybanova in the decisive doubles match.
”This time it will be a tough match, for sure,” Serbia captain
Dejan Vranes said. ”But we have worked hard and our team is ready
for the match. We’ll try our best to win.”
Sharapova was not scheduled to play in the best-of-five series,
while Zvonareva was dropped from the team because of a shoulder
”In this situation, it was clear that Kuznetsova will play
singles,” Russia captain Shamil Tarpischev said. ”But we had
several options for the second player in the singles and the
decision to name Pavlyuchenkova as No. 1 was taken in the last
Another option was Maria Kirilenko, who is 1-3 in two
appearances for Russia but has the highest WTA ranking among the
four players at No. 21.
Pavlyuchenkova is 3-0 against Jankovic on the WTA Tour, while
the 27th-ranked Kuznetsova is 2-6 against Ivanovic.
Ivanovic downplayed the statistics.
”It’s always tough to play them (Russians) on the WTA Tour,”
Ivanovic said. ”And the Fed Cup is different from the tour
tournaments because there is much more at stake. You are playing
for your country and it’s always very, very open.”
In Sunday’s reverse singles, Pavlyuchenkova will take on
Ivanovic, while Kuznetsova will play Jankovic. In doubles, the
Russian pair of Kirilenko and Elena Vesnina will face the Serbian
duo of Bojana Janovski and Aleksandra Krunic.
The reverse singles and doubles nominations can be changed
depending on the results of the previous matches.
The winner will play either the Czech Republic or Italy in the
final on Nov. 3-4.