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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Russia claim dramatic Fed Cup win
FRANCE 2-3 RUSSIA
Vera Douchevina, Anastasia Myskina, captain Shamil Tarpischev, Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva
Russia retained the Fed Cup title with a dramatic 3-2 victory over France at Roland Garros in Paris.

The tie came down to the final doubles rubber after the four singles matches were shared, and France paired Amelie Mauresmo with in-form Mary Pierce.

But Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina proved strong enough to come through 6-4 1-6 6-3 on a packed Philippe Chatrier centre court.

It gave Russia their second successive win over France in Fed Cup finals.

Pierce ensured the final went down to the wire with a 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory over Anastasia Myskina in the fourth rubber.

Dementieva was very much the star, having earlier beaten Mauresmo 6-4 4-6 6-2 to give Russia a 2-1 lead after the tie ended level on Saturday evening.

The 23-year-old also won the opening singles against Pierce on Saturday, but played down her role in the victory.

We have an agreement with Maria Sharapova for 2006. We will see
Shamil Tarpishchev,
Russia captain

"We lose as a team and we win as a team," said Dementieva. "It's not just me who won it. It's all the girls and everybody working with the team.

"For me personally, it will remain as a great memory. I'd been waiting for a moment like this for years."

Mauresmo said: "It's hard to analyse straight after a defeat but I think one of the reasons is Dementieva.

"She carried the team this weekend. She was so solid. Sometimes things just don't work out."

France captain Georges Goven added: "It was an extraordinary fight and the public was absolutely fantastic.

"It's a pity we couldn't offer them a better ending."

And Russia could be even stronger in playing terms next year, according to captain Shamil Tarpishchev.

Maria Sharapova turned down an invitation to play this year after criticism from Myskina, among others, but Tarpishchev said: "It's the best players' duty to play for Russia.

"We have an agreement with Maria Sharapova for 2006. We will see."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: Russia clinch Fed Cup victory


Interviews: Elena Dementieva and Mary Pierce



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