Perfect start for France in Federation Cup

Nathalie Dechy picked up where Tatiana Golovin left off on Wednesday, defeating Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-2, 6-4.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Moscow:Nathalie Dechy picked up where Tatiana Golovin left off on Wednesday, defeating Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-2, 6-4 to give France a confidence-boosting 2-0 lead in their Fed Cup semi-final against Spain. Earlier, Tatiana Golovin started the ball rolling for France beating Anabel Medina Garrigues in the opening singles 6-3, 6-3. Against the odds Defending Fed Cup champions France faced Spain in the semi-finals of this year's tournament in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Wednesday. France's hopes of making the final were dealt a blow after Amelie Mauresmo withdrew to concentrate on preparation for next season and Mary Pierce pulled out with a sore shoulder. So much responsibility lay on the tender shoulders of 16-year-old Russian-born Tatiana Golovin, who was making her Fed Cup singles debut, as she faced Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues in the first rubber at Moscow's Indoor Ice Palace Krylatskoye. Tough beginning Golovin fell behind in the opening set after losing her serve in the first game but then levelled at 3-3, converting the second break point on Garrigues' serve in the sixth game, and made a decisive break with a precise first return in the eighth game. In the second set, the players traded serves before Golovin saved three break points in the sixth game to hold her serve for a 4-2 lead. Garrigues came back from 0-40 on Golovin's serve in the eighth game but failed to convert a break point on the fifth deuce and the Frenchwoman served two winners to stay in the lead. Leading 30-15 on Garrigues' serve in the next game, Golovin earned two match points with an accurate backhand passing shot and celebrated victory when the Spaniard sent a crosscourt forehand long. Dechy impresses Nathalie Dechy then faced Spain's Maria Sanchez Lorenzo in the second match on court. Dechy, ranked 21st in the world, won five consecutive games to take the first set 6-2 in 28 minutes. After trading serves twice in the second set, Dechy broke Sanchez Lorenzo in the seventh game and held her serve to go 5-3 up. Just two points away from defeat on Dechy's serve in the tenth game, Sanchez Lorenzo called for a trainer, who treated her right thigh. But it made no difference as Dechy made it 40-love with a crosscourt forehand and served the winner to close the match for her fourth consecutive Fed Cup victory. The reverse singles and the doubles will take place on Thursday with France just needing one more point to reach the final. The hosts, Russia, faced Austria in the other semi-final, also on Wednesday and Thursday, with the final set to be played at the weekend. (AP)

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