Madrid:Russia retained their Fed Cup crown on Sunday to make it four titles in five years when Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to give the visitors an unassailable 3-0 lead over Spain.
Olympic Games bronze medalist Vera Zvonareva and former US Open winner Kuznetsova had set up the win on Saturday in beating Garrigues and Carla Suarez Navarro to establish a 2-0 lead.
Kuznetsova then applied herself to the task once again with gusto to hand Russia the crown and render academic the second reverse singles between Zvonareva and Navarro and the doubles between Nuria Llagostera and Virginia Ruano Pascual and Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova.
Kuznetsova, 7th in the WTA rankings, had to dig in for her win in 2hr 30min as 29th-ranked Medina tried to rescue some home pride.
But although she managed to capture the opening set Kuznetsova stepped up a gear to polish off the win.
"It was a tough match and I was never really close," lamented Medina.
"She really stepped up on the big points (but) we can't criticise this team - we did very well to get to the final with these players and we can be satisfied overall," the Spaniard insisted as the hosts failed to pick up their sixth Fed Cup title.
Russian strength in depth - they have six players in the WTA top 20 - won out ultimately, with the champions able to land the trophy in the absence of star names such as Maria Sharapova and Olympic champion Elena Dementieva.
Before their purple patch of wins started with a maiden triumph in 2004 the Russians had made losing final appearances in 1988, 1990, 1999 and 2001.