Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Germany nearly pulled off a miracle comeback on Sunday in the Fed Cup semifinals against Russia, but the duo of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina won the decisive doubles rubber to send the host nation to the final.
After Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber easily won reverse singles matches for Germany on Sunday, momentum clearly favored the visiting runners-up from a year ago.
Pavlyuchenkova was on the losing end of Kerber's 6-1, 6-0 rout that evened the best-of-five tie at 2-2, but was inserted into the doubles lineup with Vesnina and made quick amends.
The Russian tandem pulled off a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Petkovic and Sabine Lisicki to give Russia the 3-2 triumph and a date with the defending champions from the Czech Republic in the final.
Pavlyuchenkova and Vesnina ripped off six straight games after the opening set was tied at 2-2 to take control. Vesnina was broken in the sixth game, evening the second set at 3-3, but the Russians quickly broke Lisicki, then fought off a break point in the next game and broke Petkovic to finally seal the victory.
Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Julia Goerges in straight sets and Pavlyuchenkova outlasted Lisicki in three to give Russia a commanding 2-0 lead on Saturday, but the Germans decided to go with rested players in reserve singles action on Sunday and the move paid off nicely.
Petkovic blasted Kuznetsova, 6-2, 6-1, to give Germany life, then Kerber made short work of Pavlyuchenkova in just 52 minutes to even the tie, setting up the final doubles match.
Russia is back in the Fed Cup final for the first time since a 2013 loss to Italy. The Russians also lost to the Czechs in the 2011 title series and won the last of its four Fed Cup titles in 2008.
The Russians will visit the Czechs in November. The Czechs or Russians have won seven of the last 11 Fed Cup titles, with Italy capturing the other four during that span.
Germany was bidding for a return trip to the final and hasn't won a Fed Cup crown since 1992.