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Fed Cup: Maria Sharapova powers Russia into semis

Krakav: Former World No 1 Maria Sharapova sent Russia into the semi-finals of the Fed Cup yesterday as she defeated Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 7-5 to give her country an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Maria Sharapova reacts after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska. Pic/AFP
Maria Sharapova reacts after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska. Pic/AFP 

Following Sharapova's victory over sister Urszula Radwanska in straight sets on Saturday, combined with a three set win for veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova over Agnieszka, Russia are safely into the last four.

In front of a partisan home crowd of some 15,000, Sharapova, who recently lost the Australian Open final against Serena Williams, improved her record against the World No 8 to 12 wins against just two defeats.

Agnieszka saved two match points at 2-5 down in the second set to draw level at 5-5 but ran out of steam as five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova closed out the match in 1hr 46mins.

Germany too enter semis
Meanwhile, Andrea Petkovic endured another gruelling three-set marathon to seal Germany's 3-1 win over Australia on Sunday and put the hosts in the Fed Cup semi-finals.

Germany, the 2014 finalists, will face Russia in the semi-finals on April 18-19 after Petkovic again dug deep to seal a 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 win over Jarmila Gajdosova with the third set taking nearly an hour.

It was the second time in 24 hours Petkovic was carried to victory by the vocal 4,000-strong crowd in a gruelling tie after Saturday's victory over Samantha Stosur came down to a 12-10 battle in the third-set after three hours, 13 minutes of tennis.

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