Tue, Apr 24, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Russia, Italy, France, US win in Fed

AP , LONDON

Vania King of the US celebrates defeating Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium to clinch a Fed Cup quarter-final win for the US in Delray Beach, Florida, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Russia, Italy, France and the US reached the semifinals of the Fed Cup on Sunday, with Russia beating Spain 5-0 to guarantee a spot in the last four, while defending champion Italy did the same to China and France shut out Japan.

The US advanced against Belgium when Vania King, playing for a sidelined Serena Williams, beat Kirsten Flipkens 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to give the US players an insurmountable 3-0 lead in Delray Beach, Florida.

After King won, Venus Williams beat Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-2. The US players will take on Russia in the semifinals July 14-15 at a US site to be determined.

Williams pulled out a few hours before she was to face Flipkens, citing slight inflammation in the right knee. A team spokesman said the move was precautionary and unrelated to a groin muscle Williams injured April 10 when she retired from a match in Charleston, South Carolina.

King and Lisa Raymond were playing Yanina Wickmayer and Tamaryn Hendler in doubles later on Sunday.

Fifth-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 on clay in Moscow at the Luzhniki indoor arena to give Russia its win over Spain.

Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion, easily won the first set but struggled in the second.

"I completely lost the second set," Kuznetsova said. "I do not know what has happened to me. I could not go in for the ball at all."

Anna Chakvetadze, who filled in for Nadia Petrova, beat Nuria Llagostera Vives 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the second reverse singles match.

Petrova and Elena Vesnina defeated Laura Pous-Tio and Lourdes Dominguez-Lino 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 in the doubles.

Kuznetsova and the Petrova are the two highest-ranked players competing this weekend in World Group I. Both won their opening matches on Saturday.

Russia, which won titles in 2004 and 2005, will face either the US or Belgium in the semifinals on July 14-15.

Italy got its deciding point when Tathiana Garbin beat Zhang Shuai 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 at home on clay in Castellaneta Marina.

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