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Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Sunday, 27 April 2008 17:16 UK

Russia & Spain into Fed Cup final

Vera Zvonareva (left) and Nuria Llagostera Vives (right)
Zvonareva (left) and Llagostera lead their teams to the final

Russia eased to victory over a depleted USA side to reach their fourth Fed Cup final in five years, where they will face five-time winners Spain.

Vera Zvonareva beat Vania King 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the first reverse singles on Sunday to give the Russians an unassailable 3-0 lead in Moscow.

Spain secured their passage in similar fashion as Nuria Llagostera Vives beat China's Peng Shuai 6-4 6-4 in Beijing.

After the dead rubbers, Russia's tie finished 3-2 and Spain's 4-1.

"We knew we could win the tie but we've never expected to win three matches in a row," said Llagostera, who later partnered Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez to a straightforward 6-2 6-1 victory against Sun Tiantian and Peng Shuai.

In the first two rubbers on Saturday, Carla Suarez-Navarro defeated Peng and Llagostera beat Zheng Jie.

Zheng prevented what would have been an embarrassing 5-0 whitewash for the hosts by overcoming Suarez 7-6(5) 6-3.


Spain captain Miguel Margets Lobato believes his team is good enough to clinch glory when they host Russia in September.

"The Russian team is very powerful with players such as (Maria) Sharapova and also other players in the top 10 but the Spanish team is also strong and we think we have the opportunity to win the cup," he said.

Russia, who were without Sharapova and opted to replace world number four Svetlana Kuznetsova with Zvonareva on Sunday, exploited a USA side missing Venus and Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport.

In the opening day's singles rubbers Anna Chakvetadze beat King 6-4 7-5 before Kuznetsova saw off Fed Cup debutant Ahsha Rolle 6-2 6-1.

On Sunday, world number 115 King stunned Zvonareva by winning the first set after breaking the world number 14 in the ninth game.

But the Russian returned the favour in the sixth game of the second set to level the match before breaking the American twice more in the third to complete a comfortable victory.

"It was my first match this season on the clay," said Zvonareva.

"I'm happy to win this deciding point as I haven't played in the Fed Cup for a very long time. "It was really tough to be out there as King was playing really good today."

Playing for little more than pride in the remaining singles and doubles rubbers, Rolle produced a major shock in overcoming Elena Vesnina 6-3 6-4 and then Liezel Huber and King surprised Kuznetsova and Vesnina 7-6(3) 6-4.

see also
Sharapova to miss Fed Cup semis
31 Mar 08 |  Tennis

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