Serbia, Czech Republic set up Fed Cup final
Date published :
22 Apr 2012 - 17:17:12
Former world number ones Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic took Serbia into a first Fed Cup final on Sunday where they will face defending champions Czech Republic in November's title match.
Jankovic sealed the crucial point in Moscow as Serbia took an unassailable 3-1 lead over four-time champions Russia, beating two-time Grand Slam title-winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-4.
Earlier, Ivanovic had battled back from a set down to put Serbia 2-1 up with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
"I'm very happy to win the deciding point for my country," Jankovic said. "It's the first time that Serbia have made the Fed Cup final and I'm proud to be a player in this team."
Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, had lost her opening singles to Kuznetsova on Saturday and was in danger of slipping to another loss as Pavlyuchenkova produced four breaks in the opening set.
But the 24-year-old Ivanovic hit back in the second set with three breaks of her own as Pavlyuchenkova's brittle temperament came back to haunt her.
Once Ivanovic had raced to a 4-0 lead in the decider, there was no coming back for the Russian.
In Ostrava, Wimbledon champion and world number three Petra Kvitova put holders Czech Republic back into the final with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) win over former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone for an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Italy.
"It was an extremely tough game, Francesca managed to surprise me," the 22-year-old Kvitova said.
Serena Williams propelled 17-time champions United States back into the World Group with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko in their play-off against Ukraine in Kharkiv.
The 30-year-old Williams, playing her first Fed Cup tie on foreign soil since 1999, extended her perfect record in the competition to 11 matches and gave the United States an unassailable 3-0 advantage.
"It was very important for me to win the deciding point to seal our victory," Williams said.
Australia also sealed their place in the World Group with a 3-2 win over Germany in Stuttgart.
US Open champion Samantha Stosur, ranked fifth in the world, needed 74 minutes to see off Andrea Petkovic, ranked 11th, for a 6-4, 6-1 victory in the third singles rubber.
Stosur said she was happy with her victory over Petkovic, who played her first match since January having taken time off to heal a persistent back injury.
"I think the difference was that she couldn't hold on to her service games," said Stosur.
"It was crucial that I could break Andrea and it was obvious that she was nervous when it came to the big points."
Japan swept past Belgium 4-1 in Tokyo to also book a place in the World Group for the first time in five years with Ayumi Morita defeating Tamaryn Hendler 7-5, 6-2 victory over Hendler.
In Marbella, Daniela Hantuchova bounced back from a first set bagel to defeat Lourdes Dominguez-Lino 0-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 to keep Slovakia in the World Group.
Earlier in the day, Dominika Cibulkova overcame Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-4, 6-4 to put the Slovaks on the brink of victory.