WRAPUP1-Tennis-Italy beat France in ill-tempered tie, Russia win

By Pritha SarkarLONDON, Feb 8 – Italy silenced an angry French

team to set up a Fed Cup semi-final with champions Russia on

Sunday.Russia completed a 5-0 whitewash of an understrength China

while Czech Republic beat Spain 4-1 to give them a semi-final

place against either the United States or Argentina in April.Bad feeling between France and Italy continued to simmer on

Sunday but it did not stop Italy from romping to an unbeatable

4-0 lead in the first-round tie.A day after the French asked for Flavia Pennetta’s win over

Amelie Mauresmo to be overturned, the Italian kept her cool to

demolish a tearful Alize Cornet 6-2 6-2 in Orleans, France.Sara Errani kept up the winning streak by defeating Mauresmo

6-3 6-4.Cornet, who struggled to find her service rhythm, burst into

tears after being broken for the fifth time in the match.

was given a point penalty deep in the second set when she

contested a Pennetta shot while the point was being played.Pennetta, who was given a verbal warning and fined $2,000 on

Saturday for making an obscene gesture towards the umpire during

her match against Mauresmo, ignored the disruption and wrapped

up victory in 78 minutes.On Saturday, France said Pennetta should have been

disqualified for showing her middle finger to the umpire but the

host team’s protest was not heard.EMPHATIC WINIn Moscow, Russia slammed the door on China, who were

missing injured number one Zheng Jie.Anna Chakvetadze thrashed Yan Zi 6-1 6-2 before Alisa

Kleybanova produced an even more emphatic 6-1 6-1 win over Sun

Tian-tian. »We would have preferred to play France because we (would)

play in Moscow…but most likely we’ll play Italy on clay, which

will be tough for the Russians, » Chakvetadze told reporters.

Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova completed the rout

for Russia, who are looking to win their fifth title in six

years, with a 1-6 6-4 6-4 doubles triumph over Sun and Yan.The Czechs reached the Fed Cup semi-finals for the first

time since 1997 but faced a wait to know the identity of their

and Argentina were level at 1-1 in their tie

in Arizona.Five-times champions Spain had been expected to roll over

the Czechs as they had won both of the previous meetings between

the teams but the 2008 finalists came unstuck in Brno.With the tie poised at 1-1 after the opening day’s singles,

the Czechs strolled to victory in both of Sunday’s reverse

rubbers and the doubles.Lucie Safarova completed a miserable weekend for world

number 30 Carla Suarez Navarro with a 6-4 6-3 win while Petra

Kvitova secured the winning point by defeating Nuria Llagostera

Vives 6-4 7-5.Australian Open giant-killer Suarez Navarro, who stormed to

the last eight at Melbourne Park after claiming the scalp of

Venus Williams en route, was hopelessly outclassed in both of

her singles outings against the Czechs. »The city is different, the play is different, so it is not

the same here as in Australia, » the Spaniard told Czech

Source: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=tennis&id=3892706

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