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Jovanovski Wins Fed Cup Heart Award

Bojana Jovanovski's heroics as Serbia's stand-in No.1 have earned her one of the first Fed Cup Heart Awards of 2011.

Published March 26, 2011 02:38

Jovanovski Wins Fed Cup Heart Award
Bojana Jovanovski

LONDON, United Kingdom - Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic may not have been present at Serbia's Fed Cup World Group II tie against Canada in February, but in their absence Bojana Jovanovski stepped up in a major way, winning all three of her matches as the country's No.1 player without losing a set. In the end, Serbia squeaked past their North American opponents 3-2, and for her heroic efforts the 19-year-old has now been recognized with one of the first Heart Awards of the season.

Playing in Novi Sad - birthplace of the great Monica Seles - Jovanovski, competing in just her second Fed Cup tie, defeated former world No. 21 Aleksandra Wozniak and current Canadian No.1 Rebecca Marino in her singles rubbers. She then partnered Aleksandra Krunic to win the deciding doubles against Sharon Fichman and Marie-Ève Pelletier.

While Jovanovski scooped up the prize in the World Group and World Group II category, three other winners were announced by the ITF for the Zone Group I regional competitions that were held at the same time: Belarus's Victoria Azarenka, Peru's Bianca Botto and Japan's Ayumi Morita.

In Eilat, Israel, Azarenka did not drop a set during the week-long Europe/Africa event. She cruised through the round-robin stage, with Belarus finishing first in Pool C, and went on to register an impressive victory over fellow Top 10 star Agnieszka Radwanska. The result secured a 2-0 victory for Belarus over Poland, and a place in April's World Group II play-offs (against Estonia, with the tie to be played in Minsk).

For her part, Botto dipslayed great spirit to help Peru finish second in Pool A at the Americas event. She won three out of four singles rubbers, with her only loss coming against the experienced Gisela Dulko, who went on to lead Argentina to victory in the play-off for promotion.

Meantime, Morita was unbeaten throughout the Asia/Oceania event as Japan topped Pool B and then beat Uzbekistan 3-0 to seal a World Group II play-offs spot. She did not drop a set in singles or doubles, and captured the decisive point against Uzbekistan.

The four Heart Award recipients were decided by a public vote on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es after 10 players were shortlisted by a judging panel consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti, former players Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario and Mercedes Paz, and four members of the international media. All the winners receive a Baccarat bracelet and a cheque to be donated to a chosen charity.

A joint initiative of the ITF and BNP Paribas, the Fed Cup Heart Award aims to recognize players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team. A total of six players will be recognized in 2011.

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