Fed Cup: Russia rebounds to set up semi against Italy, Belgium defeats USA

by: TENNIS.com | February 06, 2011

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Belgium will host the Czech Republic and Russia will face Italy at home in the Fed Cup semifinals in April.

Russia had the most dramatic passage to the final four, winning three straight matches after going 2-0 down against France on the opening Saturday. Following the surprise defeats of Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the opening singles, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Kuznetsova squared the tie by winning the reserve singles and then combined to take the doubles.

Belgium advanced 4-1 after Kim Clijsters and Yanina Wickmayer won both their singles matches against the American singles squad of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Melanie Oudin. Liezel Huber and King combined to win the doubles.

The Czech Republic rolled past the Slovaks 3-0 after winning the first three singles in straight sets. Lucie Safarova began the tie with a win over Daniela Hantuchova and Petra Kvitova defeated both Dominika Cibulkova and Hantuchova to clinch the tie. The Slovaks won the last two rubbers to make the final score 3-2.

Fed Cup powerhouse Italy won 4-1 against Australia. The teams ended the first day tied after both opening singles resulted in three-set upsets. Jarmila Groth defeated French Open champ Francesca Schiavone but Flavia Pennetta followed by bringing down Sam Stosur. In the reverse singles, Schiavone defeated Stosur in a rematch of the French Open final, and Pennetta won against Groth. The Australians also lost the doubles, with Rennae Stubbs playing her farewell match and holding two match points before she and Anastasia Rodionova lost to Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

In World Group II, all teams had ended the first day tied at 1-1. Spain and Germany won both reverse singles to defeat Estonia and Slovenia, respectively, while the other two ties went to a decisive doubles.

Bojana Jovanovski played a hand in all three points won by Serbia against Canada, taking her two singles matches and partnering Aleksandra Krunic in the doubles to clinch the tie 3-2. Kateryna Bondarenko played the same role in Ukraine's tie against Sweden, winning her singles and partnering Olga Savchuk to a 3-2 win against Sweden.

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