Vote opens for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award

ITF PRESS RELEASE, 7 October 2011: The ITF today announced that Vera Zvonareva (RUS), Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS), Petra Kvitova (CZE) and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 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 Final, which will see Russia and Czech Republic battle for the trophy at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow on 5-6 November.

The players were shortlisted by the Heart Award judging panel, consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and a mixture of former players and members of the international media. A public vote, running on 7-28 October, is being held on and 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 during the lead-up to the Final.

The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas 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. Earlier in the year, Andrea Petkovic (GER), Bojana Jovanovski (SRB), Bianca Botto (PER), Ayumi Morita (JPN) and Victoria Azarenka (BLR) were recognised.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “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. Their passion and commitment embodies the spirit of the competition, and I would like to congratulate all of them for being nominated for this Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award.”

Player information:

Vera Zvonareva (RUS) Russia 5-0 Italy, Moscow

Zvonareva, playing her first Fed Cup tie for three years, made a welcome return to the team by winning both her singles matches in straight sets against defending champions Italy. The world No. 3 defeated Sara Errani 60 62 and Roberta Vinci 64 62 to secure Russia a place in the Final for the first time since 2008.

Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) Russia 5-0 Italy, Moscow

Kuznetsova helped Russia reach the Final with a 62 67(4) 61 victory over Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the second rubber. The two-time Grand Slam winner was also a key player in her team’s 3-2 triumph against France in the first round, when Russia became only the fourth nation in Fed Cup history to successfully overturn a 0-2 deficit.

Petra Kvitova (CZE) Belgium 2-3 Czech Republic, Charleroi

Kvitova, who remains unbeaten in this year’s Fed Cup campaign, has been the driving force behind Czech Republic’s march to the Final. The reigning Wimbledon champion is 4-0 in singles play for the season, including wins in the semifinals over Kirsten Flipkens 62 76(4) and Yanina Wickmayer 57 64 62 that set up a 3-2 away victory against Belgium.

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) Belgium 2-3 Czech Republic, Charleroi

Zahlavova Strycova endured a tough start against Belgium in the semifinals, but showed true character to bounce back and clinch the vital third point to book Czech Republic a spot in the Final. The 25-year-old suffered defeats in her two singles matches, losing to Yanina Wickmayer 64 64 and Kirsten Flipkens 62 63, before teaming up with Iveta Benesova to beat the same pair, Wickmayer and Flipkens, 64 64.

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