Davenport, Seles Win at Fed Cup
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) _ Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles blitzed the Dutch on Sunday to lead the Americans to a 5-0 victory in the Fed Cup first-round competition.
Davenport, the world’s No. 2-ranked player, bombarded 53rd-ranked Miriam Oremans 6-1, 6-2, to give the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five matchup. Seventh-ranked Seles took out 200th-ranked Amanda Hopmans, 6-1, 6-2, in a second, meaningless match.
In doubles, Mary Joe Fernandez and Lisa Raymond beat Manon Bollegraf and Caroline Vis 6-1, retired.
The victory sends the Americans to Fed Cup powerhouse Spain for a July 25-26 showdown. Spain, which had won four titles in five years before losing to the United States in the 1996 Fed Cup final, beat Germany 3-2.
Last year, the Netherlands pulled off a 3-2 first-round upset of the Americans.
``I think they felt revenge,″ Oremans said. ``Otherwise they don’t come up with the team they had today.″
Davenport started slow on Saturday against Hopmans, taking eight of nine games for a 6-4, 6-1 win.
On Sunday, she jumped out quickly, knocking off winners from both sides and keeping Oremans off-balance. The Dutch player would end up committing 35 unforced errors in the one-hour match.
``I felt like today was a completely different match,″ Davenport said. ``Yesterday I was playing a player I had never played before and I was expected to win.″
In other Fed Cup matches Sunday, defending champion France reached the semifinals as veteran Nathalie Tauziat and Alexandra Fusai teamed to win the crucial doubles over Belgium’s Els Callens and Laurence Courtois 6-4, 6-0.
France advances to play Switzerland, which beat the Czech Republic 4-1.
The French, playing without No. 1 player Mary Pierce, were even at 1-1 after Saturday but fell behind 2-1 when Dominique Van Roost beat Sandrine Testud in Sunday’s first reverse singles 7-5, 7-6 (9-7).
But Sarah Pitkowski saved France in the second singles, beating Sabine Appelmans 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
France, which decided against fielding top players Mary Pierce and Tauziat in singles play, relied on the determination of Pitkowski, ranked 44th in the world, against Appelmans, who crumbled under the weight of the challenge.
In Brno, Czech Republic, top-ranked Martina Hingis led Switzerland past the Czech Republic.
In the opening match of the day, Hingis beat Jana Novotna 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, to give Switzerland a 2-1 lead. The Swiss clinched the best-of-five tie when Patty Schnyder beat Adriana Gersi 6-3, 6-3. Hingis and Schnyder defeated Denisa Chladkova and Ludmila Richterova in doubles 6-0, 6-1.
In Saarbruecken, Germany, Magu Serna and Conchita Martinez defeated Andrea Glass and Wiltrud Probst in doubles, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). to give Spain a 3-2 win and a place in the semifinals.
In reverse singles, Glass beat Martinez 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, but Serna rallied to win over Jana Kandarr 6-3, 6-4.
The Spaniards played without injured Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, No. 6 in the world while Germany was without Steffi Graf and Anke Huber, who are also injured, and used Fed Cup rookies Glass and Kandarr.
In Perth, Australia, Russia ousted Australia in their World Group II first-round tie. Russia took an unbeatable 3-0 lead when Tatiana Panova won over Rachel McQuillan 7-6 (7-0), 6-3.
Russia, playing without stars Anna Kournikova and Elena Likhovtseva, dropped the last two matches.
In Foligno, Italy, Italy advanced when it took an unbeatable 3-1 lead over Austria on Francesca Lubiana’s win over Sylvia Plischke 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 6-1.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Henrietta Nagyoya and Karina Habsudova each won singles matches to lead Slovakia to a 4-1 victory against Argentina.
The other opening-round tie between Japan and Croatia will be played next weekend.