Victorious Petra Kvitova (R.), who ended her year today with an active 20 match indoor win streak, and hottie Maria Kirilenko. 

On the back of the best player in the women’s game, the Czech Republic stands today as Federation Cup Champions.  In what is yet another coup for world # 2 Petra Kvitova, de facto # 1, Kvitova added the Fed Cup title to her resume that already boasted the 2011 Singles Wimbledon Championship, and the 2011 Year End WTA Tour Championship, which she won last week in Istanbul.  Kvitova, on a Russian indoor court in Moscow’s Olympic Stadium, whipped up on Maria Kirilenko in the first match of the tie, 6-2, 6-2 in straights, and then today gritted one out against Svetlana Kuznetsova in three tight sets, putting the Czech in position to claim their first title in Fed Cup since a Jana Novotna led 1988 squad which also prevailed against Russia. 

The Russians, who were aced out on their own soil, had won the Fed Cup Title four times since 2004, and evened the tie in the 4th rubber when Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Lucie Safarova in straight sets, putting the Russian team in a great position to take a 5th team title in 8 years, if they could pull out a win in the doubles.  It was a tough weekend for Safarova, who managed to take no sets and only 11 games in two matches during the final tie.  Good news for her that she had Kvitova and the team of Pesche and Hradecka to pick her up.

Obviously no small task either to have to win the deciding rubber on the road, but Kveta Pesche, a doubles specialist and major champion (Wimbledon, 2011 with Katerina Srebotnik), teamed with Lucie Hradecka, with whom she has some chemistry and a little Fed Cup experience playing along side of, proved out against the ill suited Russian team of Maria Kirilenko and Elena Vesnina, 6-4, 6-2.  With many rumors about the job security of Russia’s head tennis man, Shamil Tarpishchev, who was overseen and captained both Russian Davis and Fed Cup squads since the seventies, circulating, many have found time today to criticize the decision to pair Kirilenko and Vesnina, and for that matter, to question why Pavlyuchenkova was not in on the second singles rubber, and why Kirilenko was.

Anastasia Myskina, former one hit French Open wonder, was sitting with the Russian squad this weekend, and has been widely speculated as being in line to replace Tarpishchev with the Fed Cup team, when change comes.  It should also be noted that Vera Zvonareva was not available due to injury.  Still, how wonderful it was to see a major championship come down to doubles, and to see a heavy road dog and a different set of faces pevail after recent Russian and Italian dominance.

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