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By Ajay Tyagi
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American Melanie Oudin defeated Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3 6-3 in the singles opener to give the US women a 1-0 lead against Russia in Fed Cup semi-final tie.
“I was looking forward to playing the first match because you can just go out there and not really worry about anything,” said Oudin.
Oudin smacked 18 winners and took advantage of 39 unforced errors by Kudryavtseva to win in 78 minutes. She improved her Fed Cup record to 4-3 with this win.
Oudin rallied from two games down in each set to win the match as she fell behind 1-3 in the first set and 0-2 in the second to the Russian, who was making her Fed Cup debut and admitted nerves bothered her.
“I started well considering how nervous I was,” Kudryavtseva said. “I guess I just got more nervous as I went on. It’s a great honour to play for your country, but also a great responsibility. So I did feel a lot of pressure.”
In the second match of the tie, Russia's Elena Demetieva posted a 6-3 6-3 win over Bethanie Mattek-Sands and levelled the tie at 1-1.
“It always feels a little bit more pressure when you have to win your match,” said Dementieva.
The best-of-five tie will be decided on Sunday with two reverse singles and a concluding doubles rubber.
Dementieva will face Oudin in first reverse singles rubber.
Dementieva said “I expect a tough match against Melanie. I think indoor court suits her game. Physically she looks pretty fit, pretty good at this match against Alla. Tomorrow I will be aggressive from the beginning, try not to go to long rallies because I know she feels very comfortable at the baseline.”
Oudin said “I’m gonna go into tomorrow just like any other match I’d play. I’ve played Elena twice now. We’ve played really good matches. I played well both times.”
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