Pavlyuchenkova sparks Russia to 2-0 Fed Cup lead over Germany

Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:02pm EDT
 
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By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova produced a stunning comeback to help Russia into a 2-0 lead against Germany in their Fed Cup semi-final on Saturday.

The world number 38 came from a set down to beat Sabine Lisicki 4-6 7-6 6-3 in two hours and 29 minutes.

Team mate Svetlana Kuznetsova became Russia's most successful player in Fed Cup history in the first match as she notched up her 27th career win in the annual competition, overcoming Julia Goerges 6-4 6-4.

Russia, who were playing without the injured world number two Maria Sharapova, can reach the Fed Cup final by winning one of Sunday's scheduled three matches.

Pavlyuchenkova's win came after Lisicki took a tight first set and then had a match point in the second as the Russian suffered serious problems with her serve before taking the tiebreak to send the match into a third set.

The 23-year-old Russian played her best tennis in the third and raced into a 4-0 lead. She suffered a brief hiccup as she tried to close out the contest but claimed victory on her third match point, sending the near capacity stadium into raptures.

"The crowd, my team and my captain were so supportive since the first point and they still kept believing in me after losing the first set," said an elated Pavlyuchenkova.

"I was struggling on my serve, but Sabine was returning really well. Of course I got a little bit nervous at the end, but I pulled it off."   Continued...

 
Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova serves to Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova during their women's singles tennis match at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships, February 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah