Sharapova Replaced by Kuznetsova in Fed Cup

World No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova will lead Fed Cup champion Russia in next month's semifinal against the United States in Moscow.

In the absence of Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova, who will skip the April 26-27 tie, captain Shamil Tarpishchev also named world No. 6 Anna Chakvetadze, 13th-ranked Dinara Safina, Vera Zvonareva (20) and Yelena Vesnina (53).

World No. 5 Sharapova won both of her singles matches in her Fed Cup debut against Israel last month to help Russia to a 4-1 quarterfinal victory.

"We had an agreement with Kuznetsova and Sharapova that one of them would play against Israel and the other against the U.S.," Tarpishchev said Monday. "Sharapova had already played in Tel Aviv, so now it's Kuznetsova's turn. It was sort of a trade-off because both of them have very busy schedules.

"They have to juggle individual tournaments with the Fed Cup. It's not easy as both Kuznetsova and Sharapova are also hoping to become the world No. 1 this year," Tarpishchev added.

"Besides, this is an Olympic year, so it's even more difficult to fit in all your commitments. So I'm very thankful to all our girls for their support of the team's cause."

Tarpishchev also said he might call up Yelena Dementiyeva, depending on her availability. The 11th-ranked player beat Kuznetsova in an all-Russia final in Dubai earlier this month.

The Americans will be without Serena Williams and Venus Williams in a side spearheaded by rejuvenated former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport.

"It doesn't matter who they are going to bring, we'll be ready," Tarpishchev said.

The Russians are aiming for their second Fed Cup title in a row and their fourth triumph in the last five years.