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Kirilenko keeps Russia’s hope alive

Maria Kirilenko kept Russia’s hopes alive in their Fed Cup semifinal with Slovakia on Sunday as she beat Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-1.

Kirilenko, who is ranked 13th in the world, made light work of an opponent she has now beaten in three of their four meetings as she triumphed in one hour 41 minutes.

‘After yesterday’s failure I managed to find my tennis today and it was the key to success in the match,’ Kirilenko said. ‘I played clinically trying to follow the plan which we worked out together with my coaches and it paid off as I won today.’ The opponents traded breaks throughout the opening set but the 26-year-old Muscovite prevailed eventually in 1hr 4min.

Despite 23-year-old Cibulkova breaking in the first game of the second set it proved a false dawn as Kirilenko won the next six games to claim victory in the rubber. Meanwhile, Spain won a reverse singles and a doubles match to beat Japan 4-0 in their Fed Cup World Group playoff on Sunday.

Carla Suarez downed Ayumi Morita 6-3, 7-5 to give Spain a 3-0 lead before doubles pair Anabel Medina and Lourdes Dominguez polished off Misaki Doi and Shuko Aoyama 6-4, 7-5.  
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