The Russian Tennis Federation beat Switzerland 2-0 to win the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague and become the first team to triumph in the revamped format.
Making their first appearance in the final since 2015, the Russians had to make a late tweak to their line-up after it emerged that Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had suffered a flare up of an existing knee injury.
That set-back meant that Liudmila Samsonova would face Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in the second match of the tie.
‘Anything good on Netflix?’ – Gasquet positive for Covid upon arrival in Australia
03/01/2022 AT 13:18
But before they could take to the court at the O2 Arena, it was the turn of Daria Kasatkina and Jil Teichmann, with the former getting the Russians off to the perfect start.
Kasatkina stormed into a 5-0 lead in the opening set, and although her opponent fought back late on, she was able to serve out for a 6-2 win.
The second set went with serve until the seventh match and it was the Russian world number 28 who got it, to take a 4-3 lead.
Teichmann broke back immediately but then lost her next service game and Kasatkina was able to serve out for a 6-2 6-4 victory.
In the second match of the tie, Samsonova and Bencic traded breaks early in the set before the Swiss player won the decisive match on her opponent’s serve to take a 5-3 lead. The Olympic champion then held to take the opening stanza.
Samsonova saved four break points at the start of the second set and then profited from a loose game from Bencic to take a decisive 4-2 lead.
The Russian world number 40 started the third set in dominant mood, breaking in the first game and almost backing that up at 2-0.
Bencic saved it on that occasion but had little answer to her opponent as Samsonova secured a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory to give the Russians the title.
"I have too many emotions now - I feel like I'm freezing," Samsonova said.
"It's unbelievable, I'm unbelievably happy. Today was an incredible fight - a much more nervous game. It was more than tennis."
Pavlyuchenkova tests positive for Covid, isolating ahead of Australian Open
30/12/2021 AT 10:39
Quarantine, close contacts, testing: What are the rules for players at Australian Open?
28/12/2021 AT 10:56