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Fed Cup Heart Vote Closes Soon!

Andrea, María José, Olga or Polona? Who's your pick for the latest round of nominees for Fed Cup Heart Awards?

Published May 18, 2011 01:13

Fed Cup Heart Vote Closes Soon!
Olga Savchuk, Igor Dernovskyi, Lesia Tsurenko

The latest round of voting for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Awards has less than a week to run, with Andrea Petkovic, María José Martínez Sánchez, Olga Savchuk and Polona Hercog all in the race for their respective efforts in last month's World Group play-offs or World Group II play-offs.

Rising star Petkovic has been at the vanguard of a German tennis renaissance in recent months, on tour and in the team event. In the World Group play-offs in Stuttgart the eloquent 23-year-old beat Christina McHale and Melanie Oudin, contributing to a 5-0 whitewash for Germany, and a return to the elite-eight competition in 2012.

Meantime, in Lleida, Spain, Martínez Sánchez spearheaded her nation's reascenscion to the top tier at the expense of France, 4-1. The crafty left-hander served and volleyed her way to wins over Aravane Rezai and Virginie Razzano, prompting her captain, Miguel Margets, to declare: "The best strategy is simply having María José on your team."

Of all the teams in the World Group play-offs, the Bondarenko-less Ukrainians were perhaps the biggest underdogs as they took on the Australians in Melbourne - even in the absence of Sam Stosur. But, her team down 2-1, Olga Savchuk stunned higher-ranked Anastasia Rodionova and, in an even bigger upset, combined with Lesia Tsurenko to clinch victory in the decisive doubles, saving two match points against Jarmila Gajdosova and Rodionova.

For her part, young talent Hercog won all three of her rubbers in Slovenia's World Group II tie against Canada in Koper, helping her team to a 3-2 triumph. Her standout result came in the battle of the No.1s, as she came from a set down to defeat Rebecca Marino.

A total of six Heart Awards are being presented in 2011. Earlier in the year, Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski, Peru's Bianca Botto, Ayumi Morita of Japan and Belarusian Victoria Azarenka were recognized. A player will also be honoured at November's Fed Cup final between Russia and the Czech Republic in Moscow.

The Heart Award aims to celebrate players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team. After each round, players are shortlisted by the Heart Award judging panel, consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and a mix of former players and media. The winner of the subsequent public vote receives a cheque for $3,000, to be donated to her chosen charity.

Voting closes on May 24 at FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es.

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