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Russia into semis

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:17

Given the task of replacing Olympic champion Elena Dementieva, Anna Chakvetadze delighted the home fans in Moscow and gave the Russian an unassailable 3-0 lead in the one-sided tie with a 6-1 6-2 thrashing of Zi Yan.

“I’m happy with the way I played and I did have a tough time with my serve and I know I have to work on it, and hopefully I’ll get my confidence back and start to play better tennis,” said Chakvetadze, who won the match in a mere 72 minutes.

Russia posted an overall 5-0 victory after Alisa Kleybanova won in singles and Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova were victorious in doubles.

Next up for the Russians is a 2007 rematch with Italy, who defeated France.

Flavia Pennetta saw Italy open an unassailable 3-0 lead with an easy 6-2 6-2 win over an emotional Alize Cornet.

Pennetta, who on Saturday received a verbal warning and was fined US dollars 2,000 for making an obscene gesture toward the umpire during her match against Amelie Mauresmo, raced to a 5-2 lead and was never really challenged in front of disappointed French fans in Orleans.

At the end of the seventh game of the second set, Cornet, perhaps sensing her country was about to be ousted from the competition, broke down in tears after a changeover.

The rematch of the 2007 final against Russia will take place in Italy on April 25-26.

France, champions in 2003 and runners-up in 2004 and 2005, have now lost in the opening round three times in the last four years.

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