Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spain takes it to China in Fed Cup competition

On paper, with Spain's top players not participating, it looked as though China would have an easy time of it in its Fed Cup semifinal, even without Li Na on the team. But Fed Cup is an unpredictable event that gives lesser-ranked players an opportunity to shine, and they often take advantage of that opportunity.

Today, Carla Suarez-Navarro, ranked 132 in the world, kept her cool, and repeatedly took advantage of a shaky Peng Shuai, resulting in a 6-3, 7-6 win for Spain. Suarez-Navarro played cleverly and hit the lines well. In the second rubber, veteran Nuria Llagostera Vives never one to be discounted--defeated Zheng Jie, 6-3, 6-4. Llagostera Vives double-faulted a lot, which helped drag the fifth game of the second set to eight deuces (she won it), and she also lost her second set 4-1 lead. But she played the last two games expertly, and even broke Zheng at love in the final game.

There have been only four instances of a team losing the first two rubbers and going on to win the Fed Cup round.

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