2015 Fed Cup World Group Finals: The Best Women’s Doubles in Years!

 

Dear Team Captains & Competitive Doubles Players [Bcc’d to over 50]:
On Sunday, the 5th rubber to decide the world team Fed Cup champion nation came down to the final doubles match between defending champion Czechs in Prague, lead by two time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and the Sharapova lead Russian team in front of a raucous crowd of over 10,000 lucky spectators.
Not since 2011 has the 5th rubber doubles match decided the champion.  The stars of the team could only watch and bite their already short nails.  There are many other interesting story lines to this event.  One being that a Sharapova match in Fed Cup for Russia is rare but created by new coach Anastasiya Myskina.
Like the dominating play of Hingis/Mirza at the WTA tour finals two weeks ago, a classic Baseliner/Net Rover pair, this match had two evenly matched Net Rovers and two Baseliners on both sides.  Of course it went 3 sets and
should not be missed by any competitive women’s doubles players who represent a team.  This is the best example of closely competitive, team women’s doubles play available to view in all of 2015.  Perhaps for several years!
Deciding 5th Rubber:  Pliskova/Strycova (CZE) vs Pavlyuchenkova/Vesnina (RUS).
Each player has WTA tour stop doubles victories and plenty of doubles experience going into this match.  In this case, Pliskova and Pavlyuchankova are the younger baseliners who are comfortable at the net.  Strycova and Vesnina are the more experienced and excellent Rovers at the net who are comfortable on the baseline.
Team captains would do well to match partnerships in similar ways.  While you watch the match, notice that the Baseliners are ready to come forward when possible.  The net experts also know they must stay back after serve or return until they earn the opportunity to go forward.
Historically, great net players would serve and volley or chip and charge.  In todays doubles, the returns are too threatening at the pro level, but NOT at the recreational level.   Recreational servers need to mix in some serve/volley.
Men take note:  Tactics for men’s and women’s doubles is more similar now than it has ever been because of this!
Also worth noting during the match: plenty of “I” formation was used and watch how the Rovers take more poaching risk and the Baseliners come forward more often as the points become more critical.  All four are well aware that both at the
net is still the best formation in crunch time.  Enjoy!
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