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2008 Fed Cup Semi's Are USA's Mount Everest

Saturday, April 26, 2008

USA 0 - Russia 2, and this is how the story begins.

The USA arrived here depleted but not desperate with captain Zina Garrison calling on her squad to forget the opposition, focus only on themselves and to learn from not just the play on court but the week leading up to the tie. That was evident from early morning practice on Saturday when all but their two singles players were courtside in the Luzniki stadium.

Courtside they stayed as play kicked off with World No. 7 Anna Chakvetadze, who in fairness had it far from all her own way, in a 6-4, 7-5 win over 19-year old Vania King.

Chakvetadze hasn't done a lot of winning this year and it showed at times as King, who was playing without any pressure, took it to her opponent. The only break in set one came in game five, with the American choosing to move forwards caught out from thirty all by Chakvetadze's defensive skills. The Russian holding on and serving out the set to love.

It looked as though the writing was on the wall when history repeated itself and Chakvetadze again broke in game five of the second set but King, who comes from a family of tennis players, was not to lay down lightly.

If the first match was competitive, the gulf in class was more evident in the second. Ahsha Rolle, a Floridian making her debut in Fed Cup, was outclassed by Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-1 in under an hour.

It was Kuznetsova's first competitive match on clay since Roland Garros and she'll be grateful to have eased her way back onto the dirt. Rolle was broken twice in the opening set and Kuznetsova raced through the second set gaining in confidence, at times she admitted to over confidence. "I wanted to play too good, I saw the difference in the level and I wanted to play too good, I wanted to practise some shots but in the end I’m happy," admitted the World No 4.

For Rolle it was somewhat of a baptism by fire, representing her country at this level for the first time. "You want to do as best you can for your country, but now I know how the World No. 4 plays so I know now I have to go back and work even harder.”

Posted by Shelia

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