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21 February 2011

Moscow to host semifinal at first-time venue


NEWS ARTICLE

Photo: Kivrin/GolovanovSvetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)

The ITF has announced that the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinal between Russia and Italy will be played at the Sports Palace “Megasport” in Moscow.

Subject to a successful site visit by the ITF, the venue will host a tennis event for the first time, as Russia attempts to end Italy’s campaign to be crowned Fed Cup champion for the third straight year.

A hard court will be laid at the multi-purpose indoor arena, which was opened in December 2006 and has since staged a number of high profile sporting events.

The men’s World Ice Hockey Championships and the World Heavyweight title fight between Sultan Ibragimov and Evander Holyfield were both held there in 2007, and then the Cup of Russia figure skating competition the following year.

The venue has also played host to the final four of the CEV Champions League volleyball tournament, although it missed out on the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 when Moscow’s Olympic Stadium won the bid.

Russia booked its semifinal spot after becoming just the fourth nation in Fed Cup history to overturn a 2-0 deficit and win 3-2. France was the unlucky opponent, with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova successfully teaming up to complete a historic comeback in Moscow.

Italy also came from behind to win its first round tie, beating Australia 4-1 in Hobart. Jarmila Groth shocked Francesca Schiavone in the opening rubber, before Flavia Pennetta restored order for the two-time defending champions with a pair of singles victories.

The World Group semifinals, which also see Belgium host Czech Republic in Charleroi, are taking place on 16-17 April. The winners progress to meet each other in the final on 5-6 November.

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