Maria Sharapova and Team Russia Fed Cup Practice and Press Conference

Maria Sharapova

With so many great Russian players on tour, Russia could have fielded a great number of superb team combinations. That said, I am a little surprised Dinara Safina is on the team. She is a former #1, but she is currently out of the top 100. She has played two matches this year, against Marion Bartoli and Kim Clijsters, and has won 1 single game. However, perhaps the thinking is that with three top 25 players in Maria Sharapova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova going up against a French team without Bartoli or any players in the Top 50, that Safina might be able to use a positive Fed Cup experience to help her confidence. If that’s the case, it’s a tricky play. Strange things happen in team competitions like Fed Cup and Davis Cup. Mid-level and lower tier players sometimes jump up and bite a top star in these events, tilting what on paper was a mismatch into an upset.

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