Italy, Russia, France all cruise into Fed Cup semis

4/22/2007 - Tennis

LONDON -- The United States, Russia, Italy and France
reached the semifinals of the Fed Cup on Sunday with two matches to

The United States ended up beating Belgium 5-0 to guarantee a
spot in the last four, defending champion Italy did the same to
China, Russia shut out Spain, and France blanked Japan.

The United States advanced when Vania King, playing for a
sidelined Serena Williams, beat Kirsten Flipkens 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to
give the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five
match in Delray Beach, Fla.

After King won, Venus Williams beat Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-2.
King and Lisa Raymond closed it out in doubles by beating Tamaryn
Hendler and Caroline Maes 6-1, 6-2.

The Americans will play Russia in the semifinals July 14-15 at a
U.S. site to be determined.

Fifth-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Anabel Medina Garrigues
6-3, 4-6, 6-0 on clay in Moscow at the Luzhniki indoor arena to
give Russia its win over Spain.

Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion, easily won the first
set but struggled in the second.

"I completely lost the second set," Kuznetsova said. "I do
not know what has happened to me. I could not go in for the ball at

Anna Chakvetadze, who replaced ninth-ranked Nadia Petrova, then
beat Nuria Llagostera Vives 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the second reverse
singles match, and Petrova and Elena Vesnina downed Laura Pous-Tio
and Lourdes Dominguez-Lino 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 in the doubles.

Kuznetsova and the Petrova are the two highest-ranked players
competing this weekend in World Group I. Both won their opening
matches Saturday.

Italy got its deciding point when Tathiana Garbin beat Zhang
Shuai 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 at home on clay in Castellaneta Marina.

"She had a lightning start, but fortunately I was able to
change her rhythm a bit," Garbin said.

Zhang was playing for Peng Shuai, who had three match points
against Flavia Pennetta on Saturday, but withdrew with a hamstring
injury while trailing 3-0 in the third set.

Mara Santangelo beat Sun Tian Tian 6-4, 6-2 in the final singles
match, and Santangelo and Roberta Vinci downed Sun and Sun Sheng
Nan 6-2, 6-4 in doubles.

Italy, which beat Belgium in last year's final for its first Fed
Cup title, will face France in the semifinals.

The 18th-ranked Tatiana Golovin, who won her first WTA Tour
singles title earlier this month at the Bausch & Lomb
Championships, gave France the win over Japan by beating Ai
Sugiyama 7-6 (3), 6-0 on outdoor clay in Limoges.

"The first set was very tense, very tight," Golovin said. "I
think mental toughness made the difference because I committed a
lot of unforced errors."

Virginie Razzano then beat Akiko Morigami 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-2 in
the second reverse singles match before Severine Bremond and
Nathalie Dechy topped Sugiyama and Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-2 in the