20 Apr 2013

Slovak Republic and Italy in control

News Article

Photo: Golovanov/KivrinDaniela Hantuchova (SVK) and captain Matej Liptak

On paper both Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals were too close to call. But that hasn't stopped two nations from taking their respective ties by the scruff of the neck.

Slovak Republic and Italy will take a 2-0 lead into the final day's play in their semifinals after blistering performances from both sides on Saturday.

It was perhaps more surprising that the Slovaks should have made such light work of their Russian opponents given that they are on foreign soil and had one player who was ranked considerably lower than her opponent.

Daniela Hantuchova made a mockery of her ranking and demolished Maria Kirilenko 62 64 to consolidate the advantage after Dominika Cibulkova had battled her way back from a first set deficit to defeat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 57 61 64 in Moscow.

The Italians left the reigning champions Czech Republic teetering on the brink with back-to-back victories for Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci - themselves a formidable doubles duo too.

Errani overcame Lucie Safarova 64 62 and Vinci upset Petra Kvitova for the second time in a week having also defeated her in Katowice, winning 64 61.

In the World Group play-offs there was nothing to separate Germany and Serbia and there was no play possible in the tie between Switzerland and Australia due to torrential rain.

Spain took a 2-0 lead against Japan, while USA finshed 1-1 with Sweden after rain stopped play between rubbers.

All four World Group II play-offs are level going into the final day so the contest is set up for a thrilling Sunday.

For full match reports click on the links below:

Italy 2-0 Czech Republic

Russia 0-2 Slovak Republic

Germany 1-1 Serbia

Switzerland v Australia

Spain 2-0 Japan

USA 1-1 Sweden

Belgium 1-1 Poland

France 1-1 Kazakhstan

Argentina 1-1 Great Britain

Ukraine 1-1 Canada