Russia and the Czech Republic ended the first day of the Fed Cup final on even terms today. In the first rubber, Petra Kvitova defeated Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-2. In the second, Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Lucie Safarova 6-2, 6-3.
Here is a video, via Beyond the Baseline, of a very young Kvitova on the court.
The third rubber, to be played tomorrow, will feature Kuznetsova vs. Kvitova, followed by Kirilenko vs. Safarova. Should there be a need for a fifth rubber, it will be a doubles competition. It's always an option to play the doubles rubber, anyway, just to give the crowd more to watch, and to include more team players. For this to be a dead rubber, however, either both Russian or both Czech players would have to win their singles matches.
Kirilenko has a 4-1 record against Safarova; they have not played each other since 2009. Kuznetsova and Kvitova have never played one another.
In other Fed Cup news, Anastasia Myskina was presented the ITF's Fed Cup Award of Excellence, which is given each year to a former player who represents the ideals and spirit of Fed Cup competition. Other Russian players who have won the award are Olga Morozova and Larisa Savchenko.
The final Fed Cup Heart Award of 2011 was presented to Petra Kvitova.