Russians, Czechs advance in Fed Cup

Updated: February 5, 2012, 4:34 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MOSCOW -- Russia advanced to the Fed Cup World Group semifinals with a 3-2 win over Spain on Sunday in their first-round series.

Svetlana Kuznetsova clinched the victory with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win against Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the second reverse singles.

Maria Sharapova and Kuznetsova easily won their opening singles matches on Saturday, but Carla Suarez Navarro narrowed the gap when she routed Nadia Petrova 6-0, 6-3 in the first reverse singles on the hard court at the Olympic indoor stadium.

Nuria Llagostera Vives and Arantxa Parra Santonja won the doubles match for Spain when the Russian duo of Kuznetsova and Petrova retired because of Kuznetsova's fatigue.

Russia will host Serbia in the semifinals on April 21-22.

Czech Republic 4, Germany 1

In Stuttgart, Germany, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova rallied to beat Germany's Sabine Lisicki on Sunday, sending defending champion Czech Republic into the semifinals.

Angelique Kerber later beat Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-4 to salvage some pride for the hosts. It was the 24-year-old German's first Fed Cup win.

Kvitova edged Lisicki 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-1 to give the Czechs an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five first-round series. Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova made it a 4-1 victory with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Julia Georges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the doubles.

The Czechs will face Italy on April 21-22.

Italy 3, Ukraine 2

In Biella, Italy, Flavia Pennetta shook off a sore back and paired with Roberta Vinci to secure the decisive doubles point for Italy in a 3-2 win over Ukraine on Sunday that put the country in the semifinals.

Pennetta missed the singles matches but looked sharp in a 7-5, 0-6, 6-1 win over Lesia Tsurenko and Olga Savchuk.

Italy next faces the Czech Republic in the April 21-22 semifinals.

Earlier Sunday, former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone rallied to beat Kateryna Bondarenko 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4, but Sara Errani retired midway through her match with Tsurenko to leave it tied at 2.

Italy won the Fed Cup in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

Serbia 3, Belgium 2

In Charleroi, Belgium, Serbia relied on its second-string players to come from behind to beat Belgium 3-2 on Sunday and reach the semifinals.

Facing elimination, Bojana Jovanovski beat Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-4 to level the score at 2-2. Jovanovski then teamed with Aleksandra Krunic to beat Yanina Wickmayer and Alison Van Uytvanck in the deciding doubles, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-1.

Serbia was without Ana Ivanovic coming into the Spiroudome this weekend and lost former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic with a left thigh injury after Saturday's opening singles.

Serbia next plays Russia in the semifinals.

Belgium was without Kim Clijsters, who decided to sit out the tie in her farewell season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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