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17 December 2013

Top 5 moments of 2013 - Lepchenko's amazing debut


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Photo: Ray GiubiloVarvara Lepchenko (USA)

We take a look back at the best moments of what was another fantastic year for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas – at No. 4 is Varvara Lepchenko’s fantastic debut against Italy

As debuts go, it’s hard to get much better than Varvara Lepchenko’s first Fed Cup appearance. The 27-year-old resident of Pennsylvania almost single-handedly pulled off a famous upset against the team that would go on to win the title in 2013.

USA and Italy are no strangers to one another in recent years, with the Europeans having defeated the North Americans in back-to-back Fed Cup finals in 2009-10 and so it was that the two nations found themselves drawn against one another again at the start of the year.

With home advantage and a full-strength squad, the Italians went into the tie as firm favourites, especially playing on their beloved red clay, but Lepchenko refused to roll over and got off to an electric start in her first Fed Cup tie.

Not only did she battle back from a set down against Roberta Vinci on the opening day of the World Group first round tie in Rimini, but she also gave her team an unlikely lead on day two with a straight sets victory over Sara Errani in the duel of the No. 1s.

Such was her level of play, US captain Mary Joe Fernandez named Lepchenko to compete in the decisive doubles rubber alongside Liezel Huber. The fairytale finish was not meant to be, however, as Errani and Vinci proved too strong but that takes nothing away from a standout solo performance from Lepchenko.

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