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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 16:12 GMT
Russia/France close in on final
Ana Myskina and Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev
Russia 2-0 Austria
Spain 0-2 France
Favourites Russia and defending champions France look set to meet in the Fed Cup final after taking control of their respective semi-finals.

Home side Russia outclassed a weakened Austria, with Ana Myskina and Svetlana Kuznetsova winning two matches for the loss of two games in Moscow.

Tatiana Golovin and Nathalie Dechy earlier put France 2-0 up against Spain in the other semi-final.

The ties will be completed on Thursday, with the final over the weekend.

With French Open champion Myskina and US OPen champion Kuznetsova playing singles, host nation Russia are overwhelming favourites.

And that was justified when Kuznetsova thrashed the world number 173 Yvonne Meusburger 6-1 6-1, before Myskina hammered Patricia Wartusch 6-0 6-0.

Tatiana Golovin
I left Moscow when I was eight months old and never came back until now
Tatiana Golovin
"It can't be a bad season when you win a Grand Slam, but we have to now play the most important tournament of the year, this one, the Fed Cup, and we want to win it," said Kuznetsova.

However, Myskina offered a word of caution, saying: "Let's not look ahead. I hope tomorrow will be our day."

France are the defending champions but are without Amelie Mauresmo and 2000 French Open champion Mary Pierce.

However, Moscow-born 16-year-old Golovin beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-3 to put France ahead, before Dechy saw off Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-2 6-4.

French captain Guy Forget said: "Of course, I'm happy but it wasn't as easy as it looked.

"The girls had a bit of pressure on them because they knew from the papers that their rankings are higher and everyone was expecting them to win.

"They had a lot to lose so they were a little tight at the beginning."

Russia Anastasia Myskina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, Elena Likhovtseva
Austria Evelyn Fauth, Yvonne Meusburger, Patricia Wartusch, Daniela Kix
Spain Anabel Medina Garrigues, Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo, Virginia Ruano Pascual Marta Marrero
France: Nathalie Dechy Tatiana Golovin, Emilie Loit, Marion Bartoli
Fed Cup debutant Golovin said: "I'm very happy to bring the first point for France.

"I left Moscow when I was eight months old and never came back until now, but I'm just concentrating on playing the Fed Cup for my country and want to leave all the other stuff aside."

The final takes place on Saturday and Sunday at the Krylatskoe Ice Stadium.

The format involves two singles matches on day one followed by two further singles rubbers and a doubles encounter on the second day.

World number two Mauresmo has chosen to rest a nagging groin injury, prompting an angry reaction from Forget.

And one hour before the deadline for final nominations for the semi-finals and final, twice Grand Slam champion Pierce withdrew with a shoulder injury.

Austria, who upset the USA in the quarter-finals, are also without their two top-ranked players, Barbara Schett and Sybille Bammer.

France win Fed Cup
23 Nov 03 |  Tennis

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