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Russia vs. US in Fed Cup semifinals

Now we know all the members of the Fed Cup semis which will take place in July; France will face Italy, the U.S. will play Russia. Italy and the United States will have advantage of home court.

The United States reached the final four by defeating Belgium with a stunning 5-0 win. Of course, their victory wouldn't have been so convincing if best Belgian players, the top-ranked Justin Henin and fourth-ranked Kim Clijsters, decided to take part in this year's Fed Cup.

However, the U.S. team had one drawback; best-ranked U.S. player, Serena Williams, had to be substituted in one match because of her injury. Vania King, an 18-year-old, played Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens instead of Serena. King defeated Flipkens and booked her country's place in the semis. Now, the U.S. leads 5-1 over Belgium in their Fed Cup meetings.

As for Russia, they lived up to the expectations and reached the semis with a clear 5-0 score against Spain. Russia had as much as three top 10 players — fifth-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova, ninth-ranked Nadia Petrova and eleventh-ranked Anna Chakvetadze. Even the lowest-ranked player in Russian team, world No.70 Elena Vesnina, was ranked higher than half of the Spanish team. Best-ranked Russian player, Maria Sharapova, planned to make her Fed Cup debut this year, but eventually withdrew because of problems with right shoulder and left hamstring; however, Russia obviously wasn't missing another great player, their team was strong enough even without Maria.

(source: Fed Cup official website)

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