Sharapova powers Russia into Fed Cup semis
KRAKOW, February 9
Maria Sharapova sent Russia into the semi-finals of the Fed Cup as she defeated Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 7-5 to give her country an unassailable 3-0 lead.
The doubles pairing of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Vitaliya Diatchenko later made it 4-0 as they beat Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Alicja Rosolska 6-4 6-4.Following Sharapova’s victory over Urszula Radwanska in straight sets on Saturday, combined with a three-set win for veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova over Urszula’s sister Agnieszka, Russia cruised into the last four.
French Open champion Sharapova is playing just her fourth Fed Cup tie since her 2008 debut but to make the Olympics next year all players have to make themselves available for the annual women’s team tournament.
“It is a very important win for me,” said Sharapova. “Playing for the national team there is always added pressure.”
In front of a partisan home crowd of some 15,000, Sharapova, who recently lost the Australian Open final to Serena Williams, improved her record against the world No 8 to 12 wins against just two defeats.
Radwanska saved two match points at 2-5 down in the second set to draw level at 5-5, but ran out of steam as five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova closed out the match in less than two hours.
Russia now progress to a semi-final date with Germany after Andrea Petkovic sealed a 3-1 victory over Australia.
Petkovic endured another gruelling three-set marathon to complete a 6-3 3-6 8-6 win over Jarmila Gajdosova with the third set taking nearly an hour.
It was the second time in 24 hours Petkovic was carried to victory by the vocal 4,000-strong crowd in Stuttgart, having beaten Samantha Stosur 12-10 in the third set on Saturday after three hours 13 minutes of tennis.
Having been 4-2 down in the crucial third, Petkovic showed her composure by converting her second match point to secure Germany’s win and keep them bidding for a second straight final appearance.