Saturday, February 02, 2008

Israel, Russia 1-1 in Fed Cup Play

Israel and Russia split opening day singles matches in Fed Cup quarterfinal play today at the Ramat Hasharon Tennis Center. Maria Sharapova, playing in her first ever Fed Cup match, overwhelmed Tzipi Obziler 6-0, 6-4, while Shahar Pe'er rallied to defeat Dinara Safina 0-6, 6-2, 6-2. Reverse singles will be played on Sunday followed by the doubles match.

The sellout Israeli crowd was not your typical tennis crowd. At one point in Sharapova's match, the crowd began imitating Sharapova's grunts each time the Aussie Open champ hit the ball. It didn't seem to faze Sharapova however:

"I don't mind it," Sharapova said. "It brings out the best in me. I love the atmosphere, the crowd and their craziness. It is what we live for. I got really anxious and excited as I was close to finishing my first Fed Cup match.

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