No Serena. No Venus. No Lindsay. And no spot in the Fed Cup final for the United States.
Defending champion Russia advanced to its fourth Fed Cup final in five years, clinching its semifinal match when Vera Zvonareva rallied to defeat Vania King 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday. The Russians will face five-time champion Spain in the Fed Cup final in September.
Venus Williams was injured, Serena Williams previously said she would pull out and Lindsay Davenport withdrew from a recent tournament because of the flu.
"I was disappointed," U.S. captain Zina Garrison said of the withdrawals. "But everyone has their schedule. On the other hand, I'm very proud of these young girls. They did what they had to do. They came here and showed that they did have a future."
Garrison, who led the United States to four Fed Cup semifinals, is stepping down after five years as captain. Mary Joe Fernandez will take over next year.
Russia had an unbeatable 3-0 lead before Ahsha Rolle scored the first point for the Americans, defeating Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-4. King paired with Liezel Huber to beat Vesnina and Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the doubles.
In Beijing, Spain defeated China 4-1 in the other World Group semifinals.
Nuria Llagostera Vives defeated Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-4 to assure the five-time Fed Cup champion its first berth in the final since 2002.
Russia took a 2-0 lead Saturday after Anna Chakvetadze and Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated King and Rolle, respectively. On Sunday, Zvonareva substituted for Kuznetsova, who was originally drawn to play.
The 14th-ranked Zvonareva had three break points in the second game of the first set but King saved each one and forced the Russian to make errors.
The 115th-ranked King broke Zvonareva at love for a 5-4 lead and served out the set.
But Zvonareva evened the match, breaking the American in the sixth game of the second set.
King fought for every point in the decider and had a break point in the second game and one more after Zvonareva broke her at love in the third game.
But the Russian served hard on key points and broke in the seventh game before winning the match on her serve.
"There were just one or two points in the second and the third sets that really could have changed the match around," said King, who lost 6-4, 7-5 to Chakvetadze on Saturday opener.
"It's obviously very frustrating for me to be so close two straight days," King said.
Zvonareva has improved to 4-2 in the Fed Cup after the fourth straight win. King is 3-4.
"She was playing great," Zvonareva said. "I knew it would be a tough match but it's so nice to be back on the team and bring it a decisive point."
Zvonareva last played for Russia in the final against France in 2004. She paired with Anastasia Myskina to win the decisive doubles match, earning Russia its first Fed Cup title.
The United States has won a record 17 Fed Cup titles, the last in 2000.
King had praise for Garrison's run, despite a lack of titles.
"I think Zina has done a terrific job as Fed Cup captain," King said, who played all her Fed Cup matches under Garrison. "She really brought all the teams together. We stayed as a family on and off the court."
Russia has won three titles in the last four years and is unbeaten at home since hosting France in 2003.
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