Tennis Forum banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

· Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
11,293 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By STEPHEN WADE<br />AP Sports Writer

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Belgium and Russia play Sunday, hoping young players can help them win their first Fed Cup.

Belgium ousted five-time champion Spain on Saturday, and Russia advanced on Friday by eliminating 1997 champion France.


``The whole year, a lot of teen-agers have been having great results in the Grand Slams and other tournaments,'' said 18-year-old Kim Clijsters of Belgium, runner-up at the French Open. ``It's great for women's tennis to see the new generation coming up.''

Clijsters clinched her team's match against Spain with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario.

Earlier, 19-year-old Justine Henin rallied, saving a match point, to defeat Spain's Conchita Martinez 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in 2 hours, 38 minutes on the indoor clay.

The 29-year-old Martinez led the third set 5-1 and served for the match, but was broken. She again served for the match at 5-3, when she had match point, but couldn't convert. Henin won the last six games en route to victory.


``I had to stay cool and calm,'' the Belgian said. ``I couldn't think about a victory at that time. I didn't play against a player, I played against thousands of people.''

Henin, a finalist at Wimbledon, blamed most of her problems on the rowdy 4,000 Spanish fans who stomped their feet and, despite warnings, screamed a few times while the Belgian was trying to serve.

``In the second set, I was tired of hearing all the noise,'' she said. ``After that I tried to stay focused just on the match and tried to concentrate on me and on her -- and I found my tennis again.''

Martinez, playing her first tournament since being beaten 6-1, 6-0 by Henin in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, battled through a 59-minute second set. There was no sign of an Achilles' injury that kept her from practicing until three weeks ago.

Henin closed the match with a backhand volley and walked off the court giving a thumbs-up sign to the few Belgian fans.

``Normally you shouldn't lose matches like this, and today I did,'' said Martinez, adding: ``It's a pity.''

Clijsters is ranked No. 5 by the WTA -- Henin is No. 7 -- and she never let Sanchez into their 49-minute match, improving to 5-0 against her.

``I had to show that I was ready for her from the start, that I was fighting for every point and not giving her any presents,'' Clijsters said. ``I think the pressure was more on Arantxa. She had to win this match or it was over.''

Russia ousted France with singles victories by 19-year-old Nadia Petrova and 20-year-old Elena Dementieva.


Petrova defeated Sandrine Testud 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, and Dementieva beat Amelie Mauresmo 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.


Clijsters is 3-1 against Russia's No. 1 Dementieva and 3-0 this year, though they have never played on clay. Henin has never played Russian No. 2 Petrova.

In Saturday's other match featuring two teams already eliminated, Argentina was awarded a walkover in its first singles against France. French officials were penalized for substituting Virginie Razzano for Sandrine Testud just an hour before the match against Clarisa Fernandez, instead of the required 90 minutes.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.