Rubin, Raymond can't hold on for U.S.

Updated: July 11, 2004, 7:29 PM ET
Associated Press

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Barbara Schwartz beat Lisa Raymond 10-8 in the third set Sunday to clinch Austria's upset of the United States in the Fed Cup quarterfinals.

Coupled with Barbara Schett's 6-3, 6-2 win over Chanda Rubin in the day's opening match, Schwartz's 7-6 (3), 4-6, 10-8 victory gave Austria a 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

Chanda Rubin
On beating Rubin, her opponent said, "I didn't expect it to be so easy."

The hosts wrapped up a 4-1 victory when Schett and Patricia Wartusch beat Martina Navratilova and Jill Craybas 6-3, 0-6, 6-3. It was Navratilova's first loss in 41 career Fed Cup matches; her regular doubles partner this season is Raymond.

"I could care less about the record," said Navratilova, who has said she'll retire at the end of the year. "The important thing is we lost the tie. We tried hard, we just came up a little short."

The United States has won the Fed Cup 17 times and reached the semifinals in 35 of the competition's 41 years. Austria gained the final four for just the third time (1990, 2002); it never has reached a final.

"It's an unbelievable performance," Schett said. "Reaching the semifinals for the second time in three years is a great accomplishment for a country like Austria."

Also reaching the semifinals were Russia, France, and Spain.

Raymond and Rubin gave the United States a third-string squad, because such stars as Venus and Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati opted not to play.

"I knew it would be hard to get people in July," first-year U.S. captain Zina Garrison said. "I didn't look at it like I was missing my four top players. I had full confidence in the players here."

Austria also knocked out the United States in 2002, when then-captain Billie Jean King kicked Capriati off the team on the eve of the matches.

On Sunday, Schwartz, ranked just 324th, was carried off the court on her teammates' shoulders after she held on to beat the 30th-ranked Raymond in a nearly three-hour match.

"I had her a couple of times, but I didn't put the nail in the coffin," said Raymond, who plays doubles with Martina Navratilova. "You're not going to get more emotional than a Fed Cup tie. It's not about you, it's about your teammates, your country. I just got tight."

Raymond served for the match after breaking Schwartz to take a 7-6 lead in the final set.

"I don't think it was a matter of fatigue, but we were both so emotionally spent," Raymond said.

Earlier, under sporadic rain on red clay, Schett didn't allow Rubin to break her serve.

"I didn't expect it to be this easy," said Schett, once ranked seventh but now 89th.

On Saturday, Rubin beat Schwartz 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, while Schett defeated Raymond, 6-2, 6-4.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press