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Tennis: US, France to Face Off at Fed Cup Women's Finals - 2003-11-20

The United States and France have advanced to the finals of the Fed Cup women's team tennis tournament in Moscow.

Lisa Raymond easily beat Elke Clijsters 6-2, 6-1 Thursday, to give the United States a third victory in its best-of-five-match semifinal series against Belgium. Raymond then teamed with U.S. veteran Martina Navratilova to beat Clijsters and Caroline Maes in the meaningless doubles match, 6-1, 6-4, to make the final score 4-1. At age 47, Navratilova became the oldest player in the competition's 40-year history.

Elke Clijsters is the younger sister of world number-two Kim Clijsters. Kim and top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne bowed out of Fed Cup play, citing fatigue after a busy season.

Team USA had won its first two matches Wednesday. But Belgium won the third match Thursday, as Els Callens garnered a 6-3, 7-5 win over Meghan Shaughnessy.

The United States will take on France in the finals. The French team took an unbeatable 3-1 lead over Russia when Mary Pierce defeated Vera Zvonareva in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Pierce's victory followed Amelie Mauresmo's three-set comback win over Anastasia Myskina, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. The two nations split the first two singles matches Wednesday. The U.S. last won the Fed Cup title in 2000. France last took home the championship in 1997.