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US Women Advance in Federation Cup - 2003-07-21

The United States has advanced to the semi-final round of the Fed Cup tennis tournament with a victory over Italy. After a sweep of the first two singles matches on Saturday in Washington, American Chanda Rubin won the third and decisive point in the best-of-five series against the visiting Italians.

Rubin struggled against Francesca Schiavone in the opening match Sunday. Schiavone, who lost in straight sets to American Meghann Shaughnessy (6-3, 6-4) a day earlier, appeared more confident as she stayed ahead of Rubin to win the first set, 7-5.

Rubin fell behind early in the second set before working her way back to claim a 6-4 win. Schiavone changed from a white shirt to black for the third set, and her luck darkened as well as Rubin easily finished with a 6-0 win.

"You want to win when you are in the United States. And it is Fed Cup, so you do feel the fact you are playing for your country and under the flag," she said. "But you still just want to go out and win just like any other match and just like any other tournament."

The quarter-final victory over Italy puts the United States into the semi-finals against a powerful squad from Belgium, which eliminated defending champion Slovakia, 5-0. The other semi-final will feature France and Russia.