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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 18:15 GMT
USA poised for Fed Cup final
Lisa Raymond has given the USA the lead in the Fed Cup semi-final
Raymond will team up with Martina Navratilova in the doubles
America are one win away from the Fed Cup final after taking a 2-0 lead over a weakened Belgium.

Lisa Raymond and Meghann Shaughnessy put the USA in control with victories over Els Callens and Kirsten Flipkens.

In the other semi Russia and France are tied at 1-1 after Anastasia Myskina came back from match-point down to beat Mary Pierce.

Amelie Mauresmo had given France the lead by beating Vera Zvonareva.

The semi-finals are the best of five matches, with doubles and reverse singles on Thursday.

Raymond thrashed Els Callens 6-2 6-1, but Shaughnessy had to dig deep to beat youngster Kirsten Flipkens 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (10/8) 9-7.

Flipkens, the world's top-ranked junior, held a match-point in the second-set tie-break against Shaughnessy, but was unable to take advantage.

But it was still an impressive display against a player ranked 17th in the world.

Raymond earned an early break in each set against Callens that put her firmly in control.

She went on to break again in each set as she strolled to victory.

"It feels good to get the US off to a good start," Raymond said.

"I think we're all ready, and we came here to win this cup."

Mauresmo gave France the lead over hosts Russia with a 6-2 6-2 win over Zvonareva.

Both sets were level at 2-2 before Mauresmo won four straight games.

"I was very consistent from the beginning to the end," the world number four said.

"I also didn't let her do what she likes best... to dictate the points. I think this was one of my best matches in the entire season."

Mary Pierce was a point away from giving France a 2-0 lead in the tie, but failed to hold her serve at 5-4 in the second set, despite holding a match-point.

She lost the second set on a tie-break and eventually went down 4-6 7-6 (7/1) 7-5.

Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne are both missing for Belgium because of tiredness, while America are without the Williams sisters and Lindsay Davenport who are all injured.

Martina Navratilova is scheduled to play doubles with Raymond on Thursday.


Full draw:

Wednesday, November 19 (0800 GMT)

Belgium v United States:
Lisa Raymond 6-2 6-1 Els Callens
Meghann Shaughnessy 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (10/8) 9-7 Kirsten Flipkens

Russia v France (Russian names first)
Amelie Mauresmo 6-2 6-2 Vera Zvonareva
Anastasia Myskina 4-6 7-6 (7/1) 7-5 Mary Pierce

Thursday, November 20 (0800)

Belgium v United States (Belgian names first)
Els Callens v Meghann Shaughnessy
Kirsten Flipkens v Lisa Raymond
Elke Clijsters/Caroline Maes v Martina Navratilova/Lisa Raymond

Russia v France (Russian names first)
Anastasia Myskina v Amelie Mauresmo
Vera Zvonareva v Mary Pierce
Elena Dementieva/Nadia Petrova v Emilie Loit/Mary Pierce




FED CUP FINALS

19-23 November

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