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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 July, 2005, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Russians to face French in final
Anastasia Myskina beat Jill Craybas to give Russia victory
Myskina beat Jill Craybas to give Russia victory
Russia will play France in the final of the Fed Cup after completing a 4-1 win over the United States on Sunday.

The French booked their place in the final, which will probably be held at Roland Garros in Paris on 17 and 18 September, with a 3-1 defeat of Spain.

Defending champions Russia led the Americans 2-0 overnight but Venus Williams gave her country hope with a 6-1 6-2 defeat of Elena Dementieva.

Anastasia Myskina clinched victory when she beat Jill Craybas 6-2 6-4.

Amelie Mauresmo secured an unassailable 3-0 lead for France by overwhelming Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-3 6-1.

It was the world number three's second victory in the semi-final after her 6-3 6-4 defeat of Anabel Medina Garrigues on Saturday.

It was much harder yesterday as Williams is a player of a much higher class
Anastasia Myskina

"I played better than yesterday," said Mauresmo. "I was slightly worried when she came back in the first set but I stayed in control."

Arantxa Parra Santoja beat Severine Beltrame 6-4 6-4 to get Spain on the board, before rain washed out the doubles.

Mary Pierce was a winner on the opening day for France, who will be making their third successive appearance in the Fed Cup final.

The French Open runner-up and Wimbledon quarter-finalist beat Llagostera-Vives 6-4 6-4.

Mary Pierce, Nathalie Dechy, Severine Beltrame and Amelie Mauresmo celebrate France's victory
The French team celebrate victory in Aix-En-Provence

In Moscow, the US trailed Russia 2-0 after Williams lost 5-7 6-4 6-2 to Myskina and Mashona Washington was beaten 7-5 6-4 by Dementieva on Saturday.

"It was much harder yesterday as Williams is a player of a much higher class," said Myskina after beating Craybas.

"Washington and Craybas are almost even and I should beat any of them as it will be a disaster to miss such a great chance to win."

Williams was happy enough to get back to winning ways against Dementieva.

"Yesterday it was tough," said the American. "It was so difficult to find energy after so many weeks of playing. I definitely was not my normal self.

"Last night I wanted to win for the team and that was important.

"But it's definitely hard because it's not just one person - it's a disappointment for the whole team."

Vera Douchevina and Dinara Safina completed a 4-1 victory for the hosts when they beat Venus Williams and Corina Morariu 6-1 7-5 in the doubles.

Russia and France clashed in last year's final, the Russians winning 3-2 in Moscow, and Mauresmo is keen for revenge.

"That's good," she said. "We've faced them several times over there - now, we get to host them."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Anastasia Myskina


Interview: Venus Williams



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