Russia through to Fed Cup final after thrilling 3-2 win against Germany
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russia earned their chance to win a fifth Fed Cup title since 2004 when they reached the final after Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova triumphed in the doubles to complete a 3-2 victory over Germany.
The duo were roared on by a partisan crowd at the Adler Arena in Sochi as they subdued Sabine Lisicki and Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-3 in the decisive fifth rubber.
They set up a final showdown with holders the Czech Republic, who thumped France 3-1 in the other semi-final in Ostrava.
Russia needed to win only one of Sunday's rubbers after winning both of the opening day's singles matches.
But that lead vanished as the day progressed, with Petkovic overwhelming Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-1 before Angelique Kerber drew Germany level by walloping Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 6-0.
Pavlyuchenkova barely had time to recover from that drubbing before she was back on court again for the doubles alongside Vesnina.
She made sure she would not suffer that losing feeling again.
"After I lost my second singles today... I was not really upset, so that was a positive ahead of the doubles," Pavlyuchenkova said.
With Russia losing all four singles sets contested on Sunday, Vesnina and Pavlyuchenkova stopped that run by putting pressure on Lisicki's serve. Continued...