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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dementyeva and Petrova Lead Russia in Fed Cup

APNadia Petrova
Yelena Dementyeva and Nadia Petrova will lead the defending-champion Russian team in next month's first round Fed Cup tie against Belgium.

With Anastasia Myskina, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova unavailable, Russia captain Shamil Tarpishchev has called up Fed Cup newcomer Maria Kirilenko and Dinara Safina for the April 22-23 clash in Liege.

Former world No. 1s Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters are expected to lead the Belgium team.

Former French Open champion Myskina is taking a year off from her Fed Cup duties while 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova has skipped the tie because it will be held on clay.

Former U.S. Open champion Kuznetsova has vowed never to play in Belgium again after being wrongly accused of a doping violation by a Belgian sports minister last year.

Tarpishchev said Russia was aiming for a Fed Cup hat trick after winning back-to-back titles in the last two years.

"All our girls have been in good form recently and they are all confident of playing well in Liege," he told Reuters. "We don't fear anyone, even if they field Henin and Clijsters."

Petrova won the Qatar Open this month, beating Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo in the final, while Dementyeva reached the final of last week's Indian Wells tournament, where she upset Henin-Hardenne in the semis.