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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Russian Female Tennis Players Set up Fed Cup Semi-Final With U.S.

Elena Dementieva of Russia saved four match points against Italy’s Francesca Schiavone Sunday in Brindisi, Italy, to guide champions Russia into a Fed Cup semi-final against the United States, Reuters reports.

World number one Lindsay Davenport completed a clinical U.S. victory against a below-strength Belgium team, claiming a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Els Callens to give her country an unassailable 3-0 lead before Venus Williams beat Leslie Butkiewicz 6-1, 6-4.

“We were all talking about playing Russia this morning, so I just had to get us through”, Davenport told the agency.

Dementieva, the world number five, was on the back foot in the first set against an aggressive Schiavone who won it 6-4. However, the Italian lost her nerve when presented with her match points in the second set and the tie break went Dementieva’s way 7-2. Then, she was routed in the third set to lose 4-6, 7-6, 6-0.

Russia’s Elena Bovina beat Maria-Elena Camerin of Italy 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the final singles to secure the Russians a place in the last four and a clash with the United States.

“I never had any fear of losing not even during those four match points against me,” said Dementieva, who was a losing French and U.S. Open finalist last year. “Francesca produced a great performance, probably the best of her career so far.”

Russia were missing their three grand slam singles champions — Anastasia Myskin, Maria Sharapova and Elena Kuznetsova — against Italy, although one or more of the trio should return for the showdown with the Williams sisters and Davenport.

Maria Sharapova

Мария (Маша) Шарапова


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