| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

The best of five matchup between the United States and Russia started with Melane Oudin defeating Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3 6-3 to give the United States a 1-0 match lead. Elena Dementieva defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second match to even the series at 1-1. In Sunday's reverse singles Dementieva defeated Oudin 7-6 0-6 6-3 to put the Russians ahead but Mattek-Sands defeated Kudryavtseva 6-4 2-6 6-3 in a tough match to even things up at 2-2.

This meant that for the second year in a row, the Fed Cup Semifinals for the U.S. came down to the doubles match and for the second year in a row, the doubles team of Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands prevailed to send the U.S. to the Fed Cup Final. The American pair easily dispatched of the less experienced Russian doubles team of Elena Dementieva and Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-1 for the victory in front of a home crowd in Birmingham, Ala.

Mattek-Sands was the real hero of the day. She took the court for the winnign doubles match just 20 minutes after winnign a tough 3 set singles match. The Americans were clearly helped through their matches by the partisan crowd.

“First off, let me say it is great playing in the U.S.,” Mattek-Sands said. “(The crowd) really helped me pull it out in my singles today.”

The U.S. will now face Italy in the Fed Cup Final for the second year in a row, although this time the matchup will be played in the U.S. It is also the first time the U.S. has reached the final in two straight years since 1999-2000, when it won the titles both years.