Slovaks grab lead over Russia in Fed Cup semis

Dominika Cibulkova and Daniela Hantuchova won singles matches Saturday to give the Slovak Republic a commanding lead in their Fed Cup semifinal against Russia.

Cibulkova rallied for a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first match before Hantuchova gave the Slovaks a commanding 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five tie with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Maria Kirilenko.

The Slovaks need just one point on Sunday to advance to the Fed Cup final for the first time since winning their lone championship as an independent nation in 2002.

Cibulkova will have the first opportunity to clinch it for the Slovaks against Kirilenko. Hantuchova and Pavlyuchenkova will square off in the second reverse singles rubber before the doubles match pits Jana Cepelova and Magdalena Rybarikova against the Russian duo of Elena Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Russia, a four-time Fed Cup champ, is in danger of losing in the semifinals for the second straight year. Serbia beat the Russians in last year's semis.

The Slovaks lost both prior Fed Cup meetings against Russia, falling in 1999 and 2001.

This weekend's winner will meet the Italy-Czech Republic victor in the Fed Cup final in November.