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Russia and Italy into Fed Cup final

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Originally published on: 23/04/13 00:00

Four-time champions Russia became the first team to recover from 0-2 down to win a World Group semi-final after overcoming Slovak Republic 3-2 to book their place in the 2013 Fed Cup final.

The home side were left with work to do after the opening day of play when Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Maria Kirilenko fell to world No.15 Dominika Cibulkova and Fed Cup veteran Daniela Hantuchova respectively.

Kirilenko, the highest ranked Russian player in the absence of Maria Sharapova, kick started the comeback in the first of the reverse singles, comfortably seeing off Cibulkova 7-5 6-1 before team captain Shamil Tarpischev made the decision to replace Pavlyuchenkova with Makarova, who had previously played in just three Fed Cup singles rubbers.

The decision turned out to be an inspired one when Makarova clinched a three-set victory over Hantuchova before joining forces with partner Elena Vesnina to see off the Slovak duo of Cibulkova and Hantuchova 4-6 6-3 6-1 and seal the tie for Russia.

Russia will travel to Italy for the final after the three-time champions finally brought an end to Czech Republic’s winning streak at the Circolo del Tennis Palermo.

The in-form Roberta Vinci was once more the catalyst for the home side’s success, following up teammate Sara Errani’s victory over Lucie Safarova in the opening rubber by convincingly beating world No.8 Petra Kvitova 6-4 6-1.

However, as is so often in Fed Cup, Kvitova showed her mettle by bouncing back on day two to beat Errani 2-6 6-2 6-0 before rain suspended play, pushing the tie into an unscheduled third day.

When the action restarted on the Monday, Vinci, who recently rose to a career-high number 12, picked up where she had left off, beating the hero of last year’s final Safarova 6-3 6-7(2) 6-3 to collect her seventh win in succession and send the Italians into their fifth final in eight years.

World Group Semi-Final Recap
Russia beat Slovak Republic 3-2

R1: A. Pavlyuchenkova l. to D. Cibulkova 5-7 6-1 6-4
R2: M. Kirilenko l. to D. Hantuchova 6-2 6-4
R3: M. Kirilenko bt. D. Cibulkova 7-5 6-1
R4: E. Makarova bt. D. Hantuchova 6-3 4-6 6-4
R5: E. Makarova/E. Vesnina bt. D. Cibulkova/D. Hantuchova 4-6 6-3 6-1

Italy beat Czech Republic 3-1
R1: S. Errani bt. L. Safarova 6-4 6-2
R2: R. Vinci bt. P.Kvitova 6-4 6-1
R3: S. Errani l. to P.Kvitova 2-6 6-2 6-0
R4: R. Vinci bt. L. Safarova 6-3 6-7(2) 6-3
R5: DNP

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