Sunday, April 17, 2011

Russia and Czech Republic go to Fed Cup final

The Russian Fed Cup team cruised into another final today, defeating defending champion Italy 5-0. The Italian team has been dismantled, with both Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta not playing, and championship doubles players Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci taking over in singles. (Errani lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in two tie-break sets; Vinci and Pavlyuchenkova will meet  in the first round in Stuttgart next week.)

It wasn't such an easy task for Russia's upcoming opponent in the final, however. The Czech Republic had to go to a deciding doubles rubber before defeating Belgium 3-2.

The two teams went into today's competition tied at 1-1. Petra Kvitova defeated Yanina Wickmayer 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, but Czech team member Barbora Zahlavova Strycova lost to Kirsten Flipkens. Flipkens (rocking some colorful Belgian flag sunglasses) played quite well, but she got some help from her opponent, who   generally looked uncomfortable throughout the match.

With her 6-2, 6-3 victory over Zahlavova Strycova, Flipkens teamed with Wickmayer to play Zahlavova Strycova and Benesova. The highly-ranked Czech team had the advantage, since Wickmayer and Flipkens had never before played together. Also, Wickmayer looked lost at the net most of the time. The Czech team took the first set 6-4, then, in the second set, there were a series of breaks which left the Czech team serving for the match at 5-4. Holding at love, Benesova and Zahlavova Strycova took their team to the 2011 Fed Cup final.

The World Group play-off between the Slovak Republic and Serbia took a strange turn when Ana Ivanovic had to retire against Dominika Cibulkova because of an abdominal injury (she had this injury earlier in the season). Cibulkova won the first set 6-4, and Ivanovic retired at 3-3 in the second set. Jelena Jankovic then defeated Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, and the tie went to a deciding doubles rubber. Once again, there was a twist. The team of Hantuchova and Magdalena Rybarikova won the first set 6-2, and appeared to be on their way to a relatively easy straight-set win. However, Jelena Jankovic and Aleksandra Krunic staged a comeback, taking the second set 7-5. The Serbian team went on to win the third set 9-7, and Serbia now returns to the World Group.

In the World Group play-offs, Ukraine (without the Bondarenko sisters) defeatd Australia. Sam Stosur did not play for Australia, but Jarmila Groth did. Groth won both of her singles rubbers, Anastasia Rodionova lost both of her singles rubbers, and--in yet another surprise ending--Groth and Rodionova lost the doubles rubber to Olga Savchuk and Lesia Tsurenko.

Complete results for Fed Cup semifinals, World Group and World Group II play-offs:

Russia def. Italy, 5-0
Czech Republic def. Belgium, 3-2

World Group play-offs
Germany def. USA, 5-0
Spain def. France, 4-1
Serbia def. Slovak Republic, 3-2
Ukraine def. Australia, 3-2

World Group II play-offs
Belarus def. Estonia, 5-0
Slovenia def. Canada, 3-2
Switzerland def. Sweden, 4-1
Japan vs. Argentina postponed until July


TennisAce said...

you know what was awful about this weekend's Fed Cup, especially between Serbia and Slovak Republic? It was how fans of Ivanovic and of Serbian tennis basically ripped Cibulkova to shreds on twitter. Fed Cup is all about team sport and playing for country. During Davis Cup and Fed Cup, it is anything goes as far as fans cheering and making noise. The rules of sportsmanship seem to die with this form of competition.

There is nothing wrong in seeing your team mates shouting encouragement from the sidelines or trying to intimidate. For fans to then get on twitter and lambast a player for celebrating the fact that she has won a point for her country, albeit, through her opponent's injury, is to my mind downright nasty. Let her celebrate. If this was a regular Tour event, I could understand, where some measure of individual responsibilty is expected, in Fed Cup, I doubt if it was seen as celebrating your opponent's demise. They treated Cibulkova bad. Very bad.

Diane said...

I didn't see the match, but I heard about this, and I agree with you that the Fed Cup context is really different from the tour context (I've been to both Fed Cup and Davis Cup events). I've also watched and talked with Cibulkova on several occasions, and I've never seen a glimmer of unsportswoman-like behavior from her.

Again, I didn't see the match, and I haven't read any of the Twitter comments, but I did hear about this.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree.... they personally started to attack her, commenting on the amount of boyfriends she has had from the men's tour, etc. Pretty nasty stuff....okay, probably a bit tacky to celebrate after your opponent has retired, but you know what?? She was in the heat of battle, and did something silly without thinking. All of us do it, except we are not subject to world wide outrage. Give her a break!

Diane said...

No matter what she did, no matter if she physically attacked Ivanovic-- talking about how many boyfriends she has had is sexism at its ugliest.

TennisAce said...

I agree and what really irked me about the whole how many boyfriends from the ATP she has had is that it reminded me of Laura's comment about how some of the women on the WTA are sluts. All this does is just remind us every day of how some people continue to put women in a glass bowl and expect them to stay there.

As we say in Jamaica "it is my half acre and I can do with it what I like"

Anonymous said...

The whole thing was just awful.... because Dom didn't behave in a 'nurturing' 'caring' manner (i.e how a typical woman should behave, right??) everyone decides to make jokes about the number of conquests she has had. Abhorrent stuff.

I hate that woman are expected to act in some homogenised fashion...someone even posted she didn't show enough empathy!! Give me a break. Do you think the guys on the ATP tour are expected to show 'empathy'?? She is a tennis player, not a Red Cross volunteer! Ugh, double standards.

And another thing! The bullying and harrassment she received was out of control. Bullying is a huge epidemic, it should never be tolerated.

I think that's all for now :)

Diane said...

Karolina, I think you explained why people don't feel comfortable watching women play sports. Sports requires a competitive attitude and aggression. How dare "girls" and "ladies" adopt such things?

Anonymous said...

Hello, sorry to bother you, but the flag you have up here is not Russian (it should rather be: white/blue/red from the top).

Anonymous said...

Sorry, your flag is fine, I am just blind now :)

Diane said...

Actually, I think it's more about the way this particular Blogger template publishes photos that made it look wrong. As a rule, I like it, but when there's a lot of white, it can be tricky.

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