Fed Cup preview

Fed Cup preview

Ana and her Serbia & Montenegro team-mates have been drawn in the same group as Denmark, Slovenia and South Africa in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group I event in Bulgaria, which begins today.

A total of 17 nations are competing in the six-day competition in Plovdiv. During the round robin stages all the teams in the same group play three rubbers against each other: two singles and one doubles.

The winners of the four groups will play-off to determine the two qualifiers for the World Group II Play-offs, which take place in July, while the four bottom-placed teams will play-off to determine who is relegated to Group II in 2007.

Ana is joined in the Serbia & Montenegro team by fellow teenagers Danica Krstajic and Ana Veselinovic, and 23-year-old Ana Timotic. Timotic, the world No.215, is the second highest ranked player in the side so is expected to fulfil the No.2 singles position.

Action in Pool B, in which Serbia & Montenegro have been placed, begins tomorrow. In truth it is a dream draw for Ana and her team-mates: they will not face a single player ranked inside the world’s top 300 until the play-offs, should they reach them.

That said, Serbia & Montenegro will still have their work cut out to qualify. Though Ana is the second highest ranked player in the competition, behind world No.16 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, according to the rankings there are several stronger nations.

Israel have the most formidable team on paper, with top 40 ranked Shahar Peer and Anna Smashnova in their line-up, while Estonia also boasts a team comprising two top 100 ranked players.

By Gavin Versi