Kristina Mladenovic played a crucial role in France's run to the Fed Cup final in 2016. (AP)

With a berth in the final on the line, the penultimate stage of the Fed Cup can be a pressure-packed affair.

Here’s a look at five of the more-dramatic semifinal encounters over the years.


2016—France def. Netherlands 3-2

Kiki Bertens was able to defeat both of France’s singles players, Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, carrying the visiting nation to a 2-2 split after the singles. However, she and Richel Hogenkamp were unable to pull off the doubles upset against Garcia and Mladenovic, who would go on to win the French Open that year.


2009—U.S. def. Czech Republic, 3-2

Throughout her tenure as Fed Cup captain, Mary Joe Fernandez utilized a mix of young players and veterans to great effect. Facing the Czech Republic on the road, the U.S. faced their two young singles players, Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova, each of who earned a singles win against Bethanie Mattek-Sands. However, Kvitova amd Iveta Benesova were unable to defeat Alexa Glatch and going into the doubles, the score was knotted at 2-2. Benesova and Kveta Peschke raced through the first set, but dropped a tiebreaker in the second. From there, Mattek-Sands and Liezel Huber cruised in the decider, winning it 6-1.


2010—U.S. def. Russia 3-2

In a bid to make the final for the second year in a row, the U.S. squad met Russia—led by two-time Grand Slam finalist Elena Dementieva—in the semifinal. Dementieva won both her rubbers, while Melanie Oudin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands earned victories against Alla Kudryavtseva and Ekaterina Makarova, respectively, to make it 2-2 after singles play. Mattek-Sands then teamed with Liezel Huber to beat Dementieva and Kudryavtseva in doubles, booking a repeat trip to the championship round for the U.S.


2015—Russia def. Germany 3-2

Russia appeared to be in good shape after the first two singles rubbers, needing only one win in the reverse singles to advance. That’s where things took a dramatic turn as Germany subbed out Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki for Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic, who managed to level the tie. Lisicki and Petkovic were unable to complete the comeback, though, as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina won the doubles rubber in straight sets.


2011—Czech Republic def. Belgium 3-2

Without future Hall of Famer Kim Clijsters in the lineup, the host Belgium team faced a difficult task against the Czech Republic. Kvitova won two of the first three rubbers, but Kirsten Flipkens and Yanina Wickmayer were both able to defeat Barbora Strycova. However, Strycova was able to exact some payback as she and Benesova beat Flipkens and Wickmayer in doubles.

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