Russia fends off German rally to reach Fed Cup final

Sochi, Russia ( – Germany nearly pulled off a miracle
comeback on Sunday in the Fed Cup semifinals against Russia, but the duo of
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina won the decisive doubles rubber to
send the host nation to the final.

After Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber easily won reverse singles matches
for Germany on Sunday, momentum clearly favored the visiting runners-up from a
year ago.

Pavlyuchenkova was on the losing end of Kerber’s 6-1, 6-0 rout that evened the
best-of-five tie at 2-2, but was inserted into the doubles lineup with Vesnina
and made quick amends.

The Russian tandem pulled off a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Petkovic and Sabine
Lisicki to give Russia the 3-2 triumph and a date with the defending champions
from the Czech Republic in the final.

Pavlyuchenkova and Vesnina ripped off six straight games after the opening set
was tied at 2-2 to take control. Vesnina was broken in the sixth game, evening
the second set at 3-3, but the Russians quickly broke Lisicki, then fought off
a break point in the next game and broke Petkovic to finally seal the victory.

Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Julia Goerges in straight sets and Pavlyuchenkova
outlasted Lisicki in three to give Russia a commanding 2-0 lead on Saturday,
but the Germans decided to go with rested players in reserve singles action on
Sunday and the move paid off nicely.

Petkovic blasted Kuznetsova, 6-2, 6-1, to give Germany life, then Kerber made
short work of Pavlyuchenkova in just 52 minutes to even the tie, setting up
the final doubles match.

Russia is back in the Fed Cup final for the first time since a 2013 loss to
Italy. The Russians also lost to the Czechs in the 2011 title series and won
the last of its four Fed Cup titles in 2008.

The Russians will visit the Czechs in November. The Czechs or Russians have
won seven of the last 11 Fed Cup titles, with Italy capturing the other four
during that span.

Germany was bidding for a return trip to the final and hasn’t won a Fed Cup
crown since 1992.