Serbia beats Russia in Fed Cup semisMoscow, Apr 23: Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic won their reverse singles matches on Sunday to put Serbia into the Fed Cup final for the first time with a 3-2 win over Russia in the
Moscow, Apr 23: Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic won their reverse singles matches on Sunday to put Serbia into the Fed Cup final for the first time with a 3-2 win over Russia in the semifinals.
Jankovic defeated two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-4 to score the decisive third point and give Serbia an insurmountable 3-1 lead.
Ivanovic had put Serbia up 2-1 on the indoor clay court at the Megasport Arena, rallying to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the first reverse singles.
Serbia will face defending champion Czech Republic in the final on Nov. 3-4.
Jankovic easily won the first set but was broken in her first service game in the second set. She then rallied from 3-0 down, taking five consecutive games and closing out the match on her first match point.
"It's a historic moment for us," Jankovic said. "I cannot even believe that we are in the final. We came a long way and I'm very happy we were able to win this match."
Kuznetsova said she could not challenge Jankovic.
"Jelena started really hard today and dominated with her rhythm," she said. "I broke her in the second set, but with the one-set advantage she was very confident and played strong on several key points to break back. I couldn't do anything with her playing so strongly."
Pavlyuchenkova won five consecutive games to take the first set. But Ivanovic, who hasn't dropped a set in their three previous meetings on the WTA Tour, turned the match her way, winning 10 consecutive games to level the match at one-all and go 4-0 up in the third set.
"She (Pavlyuchenkova) was playing really very, very well," Ivanovic said. "But I'm really happy I managed to get back in the match."
Serving for the match at 5-2 and 40-30 up, the 2008 French Open champion twice returned wide and Pavlyuchenkova secured the break with a precise backhand down the line. The Russian then lost her next serve at love as Ivanovic closed the match with a forehand down the line.
"I started the match pretty good, but lost concentration after the fifth game," Pavlyuchenkova said. "And my slow start in the second set was the key to my loss. You can't begin a set like this against an opponent like Ivanovic."
Pavlyuchenkova later paired with Elena Vesnina to defeat the Serbian pair of Bojana Janovski and Aleksandra Krunic 6-4, 6-0 in the doubles match.
The two teams split the opening singles on Saturday. Jankovic won the first point for Serbia, defeating Pavlyuchenkova, but Kuznetsova downed Ivanovic in the second match.
Serbia had reached the semifinals for the first time and, with the two former top-ranked players, was considered the favorite.
Russia, a four-time champion, had beaten Serbia in all three of their previous meetings, but was without its two top players: Maria Sharapova and Vera Zvonareva.