A classic instance of youth vs. experience came down to the final match.
From 2006 to 2015, the Italian Fed Cup team won the international team competition four times. In 2014, Italy—as the defending champions—fell to the Czech Republic in the semifinals. However, the team was well positioned to resume its title-winning ways with a first-round tie at home in 2015. Italy was drawn to play France, which had to battle its way back up to the World Group through the playoff rounds in 2014.
Despite its rich history, France hadn’t won the Fed Cup since 2003, when the 2015 team captain Amelie Mauresmo, led the team to victory as a player.
Playing the first rubber of the tie, 2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani was a definite favorite against young Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia on the clay and she did not disappoint, winning in straight sets.
Next up was Camila Giorgi against France’s most experienced player Alize Cornet. The Italian followed her countrywoman’s performance with another easy win, putting Italy ahead 2-0.
On the verge of a routine first-round win, things took a dramatic turn. For the first reverse-singles match, Mauresmo played Kristina Mladenovic in Cornet’s spot and she responded with a straight-sets win over Errani. Still, Giorgi had a chance to clinch the tie and won the first set over Garcia, 6-4, in the second reverse-singles match. Garcia, though, was undaunted and romped through the next two sets to level the tie at 2-2.
It all came down to the doubles and the odds were even more in favor of the Italians. Errani and her partner Roberta Vinci had established themselves as a top team on tour, but Garcia and Mladenovic routed the pair 6-1, 6-2.
Perhaps pressure played a part on Italy’s side, combined with the momentum the Frenchwomen gained from their singles wins. Regardless, the home team was knocked out in the first round as France surprisingly moved on, becoming the seventh team in Fed Cup play to rebound from a 2-0 deficit.
The doubles win by Garcia and Mladenovic was only their second Fed Cup match together.
Over the course of three years (2012 to 2014), Errani and Vinci had completed a career Grand Slam in doubles, winning five titles overall.