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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Myskina Powers Russia Into Fed Final

ReutersMyskina hitting a return against American Jill Craybas during their Fed Cup singles match in Moscow on Sunday.
Anastasia Myskina powered Russia into a Fed Cup final repeat against France with an easy 6-2, 6-4 victory over American Jill Craybas on Sunday.

Russia, which had never beaten the United States in four previous meetings in the competition, was 2-0 ahead overnight and needed just one point from Sunday's three rubbers.

Wimbledon champion Venus Williams kept the U.S. hopes alive with a crushing 6-1, 6-2 defeat of world No. 5 Yelena Dementyeva in the day's opening singles in the Olympic Stadium.

But Myskina, who crucially beat Williams in Saturday's opener, had too many weapons for the gritty Craybas, winning in 1 hour 18 minutes to give the home team an untouchable 3-1 lead.

The 2004 French Open champion, who inspired Russia to their first Fed Cup title with a dramatic 3-2 win over France last year, reeled off four straight games to clinch the first set in just 23 minutes.

She then went 3-0 ahead in the second before the experienced American, a late replacement for Mashona Washington, began to offer some real resistance.

Myskina held her nerve and broke the world No. 60 in the ninth game before holding to love to seal victory.

"I really didn't care who I was playing because they are about the same level," said Myskina, who turned 24 on Friday.

"I knew I had a great chance to clinch the tie, and it would have been a disaster if I had lost."

Russia will now take on France in Paris on September 17-18 after the French took an unbeatable 3-0 lead against Spain in their semifinal.

Earlier, Williams gave the U.S. team a lifeline when she crushed Dementyeva 6-1, 6-2 in the first reverse singles.

Dementyeva came under a barrage of attacking tennis and quickly found herself 4-0 down before finally getting on the scoreboard when Venus netted a backhand on break point.

The American then won the next two games to take the opening set in 33 minutes.

Williams secured two more breaks in the second set before sealing a one-sided contest on her first match point with a crunching volley in just over an hour.

The five-time grand slam champion said she had been determined to give a better account of herself on Sunday after losing for only the second time in 14 previous Fed Cup matches.

"Yesterday was tough. It was difficult to find the energy after so many weeks of playing. I was not my normal self for sure," she said.

"I wanted to win for the team and I felt so bad about it. I was very disappointed. ... It's hard because it's not just me -- it's a disappointment for the whole team."