Favored Russia has captured the Fed Cup tennis title for the first time ever, with a dramatic 3-2 win over defending champion France in Moscow.
The best-of-five match women's team tennis event came down to a decisive doubles rubber, after the teams split their opening singles on Saturday and the reverse singles matches earlier on Sunday.
With the championship hanging in the balance, Russia brought in the unbeaten Anastasia Myskina in place of Elena Likhovtseva to partner with Vera Zvonareva in the doubles, while French captain Guy Forget stuck with Emilie Loit and Marion Bartoli.
The Russia duo finally won the hard-fought doubles match by defeating Loit and Bartoli 7-6, 7-5 to clinch the title. After the match, Myskina and Zvonereva were thrilled with their win.
MYSKINA: "I am happy, really really happy. It is the best team I ever played [on]. The crowd was the best! You know, everybody came, and it was really full. So, we were very happy with this.
ZVONEREVA: "Of course, I am really happy. It was one of our biggest goals of the year, and I am happy that we did it," said the winners.
Earlier Sunday, Myskina had put Russia up 2-1 with a (6-3, 6-4) win over Nathalie Dechy, before Frenchwoman Tatiana Golovin beat Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia (6-4, 6-1) to even the tie (best-of-five series) at 2-2. After losing her opening match Saturday, Golovin was pleased with her reverse-singles win on Sunday.
"You know, I felt really happy and proud of myself, because yesterday, I had so many chances, and I did not take them," said M. Golovin. "So, I definitely felt that I learned a lot from yesterday's match, and, like I said, it was a little bit getting experience."
In the opening singles Saturday, Dechey outlasted Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-6, 8-6, while Myskina topped Golovin 6-4, 7-6.