Moscow, Russia (Sports Network) - Ekaterina Makarova first kept her country
alive, then teamed up with Elena Vesnina to give Russia a Fed Cup quarterfinal
win over Japan.
The Japanese had grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five tie after Ayumi Morita
posted a 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Vesnina, a replacement for an ailing Maria
Kirilenko, in the opening reverse singles match on Sunday, but Makarova then
took things into her own hands.
Makarova thumped Kimiko Date-Krumm, 6-1, 6-1, in Sunday's second singles match
to force a fifth and deciding doubles rubber. Makarova was not originally
slated to play in the doubles, but was called upon to join Vesnina and the duo
easily routed the Japanese tandem of Morita and Misaki Doi, 6-2, 6-2, in a
mere 65 minutes.
Morita earned both points this weekend for Japan, which was trying to reach
the Fed Cup semifinals for the first time since 1996.
Instead, it will be Russia in the semis for a seventh straight year. The
Russians lost to Serbia in last year's semis and could gain a rematch in April
if the Serbs can beat Slovakia this weekend.
Russia, a four-time Fed Cup champ and finalist in 2011, advanced this weekend
without top stars Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva.
The Sports Network