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Russia edge Japan to reach Fed Cup semis

AFP
ANALYST
Modified 10 Feb 2013, 23:50 IST
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MOSCOW (AFP) –

Russia

Russia’s Elena Vesnina (R) and Ekaterina Makarova return a ball to Japan’s Morita Ayumi and Misaki Doi during the International Tennis Federation Fed Cup quarterfinal match between Russia and Japan in Moscow on February 10, 2013. Russia won 3-2.

Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova put Russia into the Fed Cup semi-finals on Sunday when they secured a 6-2, 6-2 win over Japan’s Ayumi Morita and Misaki Doi for a 3-2 victory.

Four-time champions Russia will host Slovakia, who edged 2012 runners-up Serbia 3-2, in April’s semi-finals.

Russia and Japan had been locked 1-1 overnight before the Asian outsiders went 2-1 up when Morita defeated Vesnina, standing in for the unwell Maria Kirilenko, 6-4, 6-1.

Makarova then levelled at 2-2 by easing past veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-1, 6-1.

“I really wanted to win this clash to make up for losing in today’s singles rubber,” said Vesnina.

“We were a bit nervous in the beginning and allowed our opponents to grab the early lead, but then we found our normal play and experienced few problems.”

The Japanese duo started the crucial doubles with a break but the Russians broke back immediately to level.

Later in the opening set, Vesnina and Makarova, who are ninth and 10th respectively in the WTA doubles rankings, produced two more breaks to capture the first set in 31 minutes.

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In the second set, the hosts were still in control with Morita broken twice as the rubber was wrapped up in 65 minutes.

Earlier, in her first ever meeting with the 42-year-old Date-Krumm, Makarova needed just 59 minutes to complete a commanding win.

Morita said she had been pleased with her defeat of Vesnina to briefly put her country in front.

“I wanted to win very much,” said Morita. “I played well in both my games and I’m really pleased with my performance during the weekend.”

On Saturday, Kirilenko put Russia 1-0 up by beating Date-Krumm 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, before Morita beat Makarova 6-2, 6-2.

Published 10 Feb 2013, 23:50 IST
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