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Rediff.com  » Sports » Russia rejoices Fed Cup win over US

Russia rejoices Fed Cup win over US

July 17, 2007 17:17 IST

The Russian Fed Cup team was hailed by the local media following their semi-final victory in the United StatesĀ at the weekend, while the hosts were criticised for their choice of venue and the treatment of the visiting captain.

Despite missing world number two Maria Sharapova and number four Svetlana Kuznetsova through injury, the Russians overcame a US team led by Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, 3-2, to reach their third Fed Cup final in four years.

"America got their butts kicked," a headline in Tuesday's edition of a leading daily Kommersant blared in hailing the understrength team's victory.

However, the tie at the picturesque mountain resort in Stowe, Vermont, was overshadowed by a political row between Moscow and Washington when US authorities failed to issue Russia captain Shamil Tarpishchev an entry visa on time.

Only after intensive lobbying by the International Tennis Federation and the Russian Foreign Ministry was Tarpishchev able to fly to the US and arrived in Stowe just 24 hours before Saturday's opening match.

Last Thursday, Tarpishchev said he was "forced to sit on the edge of his seat" for seven days waiting for his visa instead of preparing his team for the all-important tie.

'INHOSPITABLE AMERICANS'

Russian media took exception to Tarpishchev's troubles by calling the Americans "inhospitable".

"The ordeal in the ghost city," wrote the mass-selling daily Sovietsky Sport, criticising the hosts for almost everything, from a lack of adequate facilities to bad food at the venue.

Russia's leading players Anna Chakvetadze and Nadia Petrova also cited jetlag, fatigue and a lack of preparation as reasons for losing their singles matches to Williams.

The influential newspaper Izvestia questioned the wisdom of American officials to delay Tarpishchev's arrival, saying their actions just "teased the Russian bear".

"Next time they should deliver it to his doorstep," it said.

Tarpishchev, who also coaches his country's Davis Cup team, was in forgiving mood after leading the women to victory in his 100th tie as Russia's captain.

Asked if it would be easier to prepare the team for the Fed Cup final against Italy in September, Tarpishchev smiled: "Well, it'll be played in Moscow, so I won't need a visa."

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