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Monday, April 02, 2007

Maria set to make Russia's Fed Cup debut in Moscow

Maria Sharapova will make her long-awaited Fed Cup debut for Russia against Spain.

Maria Sharapova Canon

"It's all has been agreed and unless she is injured, we will see Maria in Moscow in April," Russia's tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev, who is also their Fed Cup captain, told Reuters on Wednesday. Sharapova will be joined by world number three Svetlana Kuznetsova and world number seven Nadia Petrova for the two-day indoor tie at Moscow's Luzhniki Sports Palace from April 21 to 22.

Tarpishchev must choose between 11th-ranked Anna Chakvetadze and 14th-ranked Dinara Safina to replace Elena Dementieva, who has a rib injury. "Aside from Dementieva, we'll have our strongest team there," said Tarpishchev. There have always been doubts in the Russian media over whether Sharapova would ever play for her country, but the Florida-based 19-year-old made herself available shortly after winning last year's U.S. Open title. Playing Fed Cup for Russia would make Maria Sharapova eligible to play in next year's Bejing Olympics.

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