Before Canadian tennis player Sharon Fichman of Toronto took to the court for her doubles match on Feb. 9, she was already celebrating that her teammates clinched a victory for Canada over Serbia in Fed Cup play.
Due to two victories in singles by Quebec’s Eugenie Bouchard and one by Aleksandra Wozniak, Canada defeated Serbia 3-1 in the best of five match Fed Cup World Group Two competition, held before 3,493 mostly partisan Canadian fans at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex in Montreal.
The Canadians advance to the World Group playoffs in April for the first time since 2004 with an opportunity to compete against the top eight nations in the world in 2015.
Fed Cup is a year-round global competition for women in tennis, involving 64 nations,similar to Davis Cup for men.
As Bouchard of Westmount clinched the victory for Canada with a decisive 6-0, 6-3 drubbing over Vesna Dolnc of Serbia, Fichman and her teammates, all sporting Canadian flags on their faces, hugged Bouchard in an on-court celebration, with Fichman waving a Canadian flag to the crowd.
“I want to thank you all for your support of our team today. It was fun to make Canadian history,” said Fichman, in reference to Canada’s first chance to make the elite World Group category.
The only damper on the competition took place after the Canadian celebration in the doubles match. Teamed with Gabriela Dabrowski, Fichman and her partner were inspired in the first set winning 6-2 over the Serbian team of Jouvana Jaksic and Nina Stojanovic.
Unfortunately for the Canadians, the Serbs rallied winning the second set 6-3, forcing a 10-point third-set tie break for the match. The Canadians battled hard for an 8-8 tie, but Fichman then had two unforced errors on her forehand to hand the Serbians their only victory of the competition, winning 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.
Fortunately for the Canadians, the doubles loss was a “dead rubber,” since Canada already was victorious.
“We were hoping for a sweep of the Serbians so I am disappointed, but I am deeply patriotic and am happy to be part of an outstanding Canadian Fed Cup team that will continue to play well,” said Fichman.
The 23-year-old has been playing Fed Cup since 2005. She is the first Jewish player to play Fed Cup for Canada since Vicki Berner of Vancouver from 1964 to 1968. Fichman has an impressive Fed Cup won/loss record of 22-8 over 24 ties.
She finished her junior career ranked fifth in the world in 2006, winning the prestigious Orange Bowl junior title in 2003.
She was born in Toronto two years after her parents immigrated to Canada from Israel in 1988. Her parents came to Israel after leaving Romania in 1983.
Fichman started playing tennis at age five following her brother Thomas, who was a top Canadian player in the 14 and under category. She is the youngest athlete at age 14 ever to win a gold medal in tennis at the 2005 Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Three other Jewish tennis players led their nations to victories in Fed Cup play on Feb. 9.
Camila Giorgi defeated American Madison Keys 6-2, 6-1 to lead Italy to an upset victory over the United States in the World Group. Shahar Peer won two singles and two doubles matches with partner Julia Glushko to lead Israel to wins over Austria and Slovenia in Fed Cup zonal competition.
To learn more about Fed Cup, go to www.fedcup.com