Vote Opens In Fed Cup Heart Awards
Published October 08, 2011 07:34
LONDON, United Kingdom - Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Petra Kvitova, and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova have been shortlisted for the last Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award of 2011. All four players competed in the World Group semifinals in April and helped their nation reach the upcoming final, with Russia to host Czech Republic - through to the final for the first time since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia two decades ago - at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow on November 5-6.
"All four players have played a key role in getting Russia and Czech Republic through to the final, which is shaping up to be one of the closest for years," said Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the ITF. "Their passion and commitment embodies the spirit of the competition, and I would like to congratulate all of them for being nominated for this award."
Zvonareva, playing her first Fed Cup tie for three years, won both her singles matches in straight sets against defending champions Italy. Kuznetsova also helped secure four-times champion Russia's first finals berth since 2008 with a three set victory over Roberta Vinci; in the first round, she paired with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to win the decisive doubles rubber over France - just the fourth time in the team competition's history that a nation had successfully overcome a 0-2 deficit after day one.
For her part, Kvitova has been the driving force behind Czech Republic's march to the final, going 2-0 in her singles matches against Slovakia in the first round, and then beating Kirsten Flipkens and Yanina Wickmayer to set up a 3-2 away victory against Belgium in the semis. Zahlavova Strycova was a key player in that tie too, bouncing back from the loss of her two singles rubbers to win the decisive doubles with Iveta Benesova.
The players were shortlisted by the Heart Award judging panel, consisting of Ricci Bitti and a group of former players and members of the international media. A public vote, running October 7-28, is being held on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es to decide the winner, who will receive a cheque for $10,000 to be donated to her chosen charity. The winner will be announced in Moscow ahead of the final weekend.
The Heart Award is a joint initiative between BNP Paribas and the ITF. It aims to recognise players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team. A total of six Heart Awards are being presented in 2011. So far this year, recognition has gone to Germany's Andrea Petkovic, Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski, Peru's Bianca Botto, Ayumi Morita of Japan and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Cast your vote for the latest round on the official Fed Cup website.