Russia knocked out of Fed Cup

‘I’m hunting, not hunted’ – Osaka

The Netherlands have booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Fed Cup for the first time since 1997 after claiming an upset victory over last year’s runners-up, Russia.%u200B

Heading into the second day with a 2-0 lead in hand, Kiki Bertens powered the Netherlands into the last four as she broke Svetlana Kuznetsova three times en route to a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

Russia, the 2015 runners-up, earned a consolation win in the doubles clash as Darya Kasatkina and Ekaterina Makarova cruised past Cindy Burger and Arantxa Rus 6-0, 6-2.

The Netherlands will face France in the semi-finals after the French swept Italy on the second day of their tie.

After Camila Giorgi drew first blood for Italy and Caroline Garcia brought France level at 1-1 on Saturday, Kristina Mladenovic edged France in front with a 7-6 (4), 6-1 win over Sara Errani.

Garcia made it 3-1 to France when she defeated Giorgi 6-3, 6-4 before she teamed up with Mladenovic to down Errani and Martina Caregaro 6-0, 6-1 in the doubles match-up to help France win 4-1.

In the second semi-final, the defending champions the Czech Republic will take on Switzerland after they edged Romania 3-2.

With the tie evenly poised at 1-1 heading into the second day, Simona Halep nudged Romania in front after she triumphed over Petra Kvitova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

However, Karolina Pliskova made it 2-2 with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over Monica Niculescu before Pliskova and Barbora Strycova clinched the decider following a 6-2, 6-3 doubles win against Andreea Mitu and Raluca Olaru.

Switzerland meanwhile skirted past Germany 3-2 after the tie was level at 1-1 entering the second day.

Belinda Bencic gave Switzerland the lead when she beat reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Germany refused to go down without a fight though as Annika Beck brought them level at 2-2 with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Timea Bacsinszky.

However, Germany’s valiant effort was in vain as Bencic and Martina Hingis breezed past Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-2 to lead Switzerland into the semi-finals.