>> Sunday, April 22, 2012
The second day of the BNP Paribas - sponsored Fed Cup 2012 competition heats up with nations competing for victory in ten World Group cities this Sunday, April 22, 2012. The world group semifinals pit Russia vs Serbia in the first tie with both teams splitting their matches on the first day at the Sports Palace "Megasport" in Moscow, Russia. Serbia has never beaten Russia in their 3 completed ties to date. The other semifinal pitted the Czech Republic against Italy in CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The Czech Fed Cup team are a win away from the 2012 Fed Cup finals after winning both matches on Saturday to set-up a commanding 2-0 lead over the visiting team. Watch 2012 Fed Cup matches live online here.
Over at the Superior Golf and Spa Resort in Kharkiv, Ukraine, thirteen-time Grand Slam champion and former world #1 Serena Williams is leading the United States in their Fed Cup campaign against an overwhelmed Ukrainian team. The Americans have a commanding 2-0 lead after Saturday's matches, with Christina McHale putting the USA on the road to success by lifting the team to 1-0 in the opening match. McHale needed three sets to down 110th-ranked Lesia Tsurenko 61 46 63. Serena had a much straight forward 62 61 win over 171st-ranked Elina Svitolina who was playing on her first Fed Cup team. The United States need one more win to secure a place in next year's World Group and is heavily favored to sweep it's remaining matches against the hapless team from Ukraine.
In other World Group play-off matches, Japan leads Belgium 2-0 in their tie at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese are led Ayumi Morita ranked #83, and Kimiko DATE-KRUMM, ranked #84. Belgium is playing without a top 100 player with top players Kim Clijsters and Yanina Wickmayer opting out of the tie. In Spain, the Spanish team is tied 1-1 with the team from the Slovak Republic at the tie being held in Club de Tenis Puente Romano in Marbella. Daniela HANTUCHOVA won the second rubber to force the tie after top Slovak player Dominika CIBULKOVA lost in the first rubber against Lourdes DOMINGUEZ-LINO.
The other World Group play-off is being held at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany. The visiting Australian team is holding a 2-0 lead after the first day of play with world #5 Samantha STOSUR beating world #14 Angelique KERBER 76(1) 64. Australia's #2 player Jarmila GAJDOSOVA, ranked #50 in the world, caused an upset when she beat 16th ranked Julia GOERGES in straight sets 64 64. Stosur will next face Goerges in the first reverse singles on Sunday hoping to win the tie for Australia.
In the first world group semifinal, Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA will be aiming to put the Russians ahead when she plays former world #1 Ana IVANOVIC. The fourth rubber will be between 2-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana KUZNETSOVA and former world #1 Jelena JANKOVIC. Kuznetsova and Jankovic both won their day 1 matches to provide a split 1-1 score between the Russia and Serbia.
In the other world group semifinal, the Czech Republic will need just one more win to advance to the 2012 Fed Cup finals. In the first day of play, Lucie SAFAROVA downed higher ranked former French Open champion Francesca SCHIAVONE of Italy in straight sets 7-6(3) 6-1. In the second match, world #3 and reigning Wimbledon champion Petra KVITOVA beat Italy's #2 player Roberta VINCI 6-4 6-3. In the reverse singles matches on Sunday, Kvitova will square off with Schiavone while Safarova will go against Errani.
Watch Serena Williams and Fed Cup 2012 live online action at the link provided above.