U.S. beats France, secures spot in Fed Cup semis

LIEVIN, France — Teenager Melanie Oudin won her two singles matches to lead the United States to a 4-1 victory over France and secure a spot in the Fed Cup semifinals.

Oudin beat Julie Coin 7-6 (3), 6-4 in just over two hours Sunday to give the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

The U.S. will next face Russia on April 24-25.

“I was a little nervous in the beginning,” Oudin said. “She definitely stepped up her game when she came out on court and served some really great service games. There wasn’t much I could do in the beginning, besides staying in there with her.”

Pauline Parmentier then beat Christina McHale of the United States 6-4, 6-4 before Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Stephanie Cohen-Aloro and Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-3 in the doubles.

The 18-year-old Oudin broke Coin in the fifth game of the second set and clinched the match when the Frenchwoman shanked a forehand.

Oudin had saved two break points at 5-5 in the first to force the tiebreaker, where she hit three straight winners to close out the set.

“I ended up playing a really good tiebreaker and, after 3-all, some of the best points of the match,” Oudin said.

Oudin also beat Parmentier 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday.

Cornet had been scheduled to face Oudin on Sunday but France captain Nicolas Escude decided to replace her with Coin after Cornet acknowledged she struggled with her nerves against Mattek-Sands in the opening singles Saturday. Mattek-Sands rallied from 5-2 down in the first to win in straight sets, giving Cornet her sixth loss in six Fed Cup singles matches.

Both teams were missing their best players. Serena and Venus Williams skipped the event, while France played without Marion Bartoli, Aravane Rezai and Virginie Razzano.

Four-time champion Russia won the decisive doubles match to edge Serbia 3-2.

Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alisa Kleybanova beat Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-4.

Russia has won four of the last six Fed Cup titles. Earlier Sunday in the reverse singles, Kleybanova beat Ivanovic 6-2, 6-3 while Jankovic defeated Kuznetsova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

The Czech Republic reached its second consecutive Fed Cup semifinal after beating Germany in the decisive doubles match to secure a 3-2 victory.

Lucie Hradecka teamed up with veteran doubles specialist Kveta Peschke to defeat Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Tatjana Malek 6-1, 6-3.

The Czechs will face defending champion Italy in the April 24-25 semifinals.

Earlier Sunday, Groenefeld rallied to beat Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to draw Germany even at 2-2 after Hradecka beat Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 7-6 (5) in the first reverse singles.

Francesca Schiavone gave Italy an insurmountable 3-1 lead over Ukraine after rallying to beat Kateryna Bondarenko 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. Italy went on to win 4-1.

Schiavone struggled in the first set and was broken twice, but then raced out to a 5-0 lead in both the second and third.

Earlier Sunday, Flavia Pennetta beat Alona Bondarenko 7-5, 7-6 (3) to put Italy ahead 2-1.

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