As for the Russians, they come in a bit battered and shell-shocked:
Winners of 15 of their last 16 ties, Russia will look to Svetlana Kuznetsova to provide a backbone for success. Kuznetsova is now coachless after her split last month from Olga Morozova but is enjoying a Fed Cup run of eight straight singles wins. She admits though that preparations this week have not been perfect: “We have not managed to practise indoors, only outdoors, and not as much as we should have because of the conditions but we are looking forward to the weekend.”
Chakky only has 4 wins this year? Ugh.
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) v Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)
Sara Errani /Roberta Vinci (ITA) v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/Nadia Petrova (RUS)