Tennis: Britain overcome wild wind

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN took a decisive step towards qualifying for the Federation Cup finals with an important 3-0 defeat of Russia in the Euro/Africa qualifying event in Nottingham yesterday.

Monique Javer and Clare Wood won their singles matches for the third consecutive day and Wood and Julie Salmon completed the victory with a straight-sets doubles triumph.

But the Russians were not so much beaten by Britain as blown away by the capricious wind which swirled around the Nottingham Tennis Centre.

Eugenia Maniokova was the first to suffer. Despite taking the first set from Javer when the Briton served two double faults, she constantly struggled to control her own delivery in the strong north-easterly.

The Russian, ranked 290 against Javer's 193, produced a total of 11 double faults and failed to hold serve seven times in the next two sets to give her grateful opponent a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory in one hour 51 minutes.

Wood and Elena Makarova also toiled in the wind, serving 13 double faults between them in a match which featured 13 service breaks - but again the Briton adapted to the conditions better than the Russian.

Wood secured her 6-3, 6-4 success in 87 minutes to seal the fate of a Russian team who were considered Britain's biggest threat in the round-robin phase. The Sussex player put the icing on the cake when she partnered Julie Salmon to a 6-4, 6-2 doubles victory.

Britain, who play their last group match against Ukraine today, are now virtually guaranteed a seeded place in Saturday's play-offs which will determine the five nations who progress to the finals in Frankfurt in July.