King Sings, Then Swings, Leads U.S. in Fed Cup

Vania King, above, vanquishes Kirsten Flipkens, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, to clinch a U.S. victory over Belgium. King replaced injured Serena Williams.
Vania King, above, vanquishes Kirsten Flipkens, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, to clinch a U.S. victory over Belgium. King replaced injured Serena Williams. (By Luis M. Alvarez -- Associated Press)
Monday, April 23, 2007

With Serena Williams sidelined, Fed Cup teammate Vania King showed she can do more than sing, winning in singles to clinch the U.S. team's match against Belgium in Delray Beach, Fla.

The 18-year-old King won raves for her rendition of the national anthem before the first match Saturday, then substituted yesterday for Williams and beat Kirsten Flipkens, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

That gave the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead en route to a 5-0 victory. Serena and Venus Williams won in singles Saturday.

Serena Williams pulled out an hour before she was to face Flipkens, citing slight inflammation in the right knee. A team spokesman said the move was precautionary, and the inflammation wasn't related to the groin injury Williams suffered April 10, when she retired from a match in Charleston, S.C.

After King won, Venus Williams beat Yanina Wickmayer, 6-1, 6-2. In doubles, King and Lisa Raymond beat Tamaryn Hendler and Caroline Maes, 6-1, 6-2.

The Americans will play Russia in the semifinals on July 14-15 at a U.S. site to be determined. Russia advanced by beating Spain, 5-0. France and Italy also each won, 5-0, and will meet in the other semifinal. . . .

Roger Federer seems no closer to figuring out how to beat Rafael Nadal on clay. The top-ranked Swiss star lost his fifth straight match to Nadal on clay at the Monte Carlo Masters, 6-4, 6-4, and the second-ranked Spaniard extended his winning streak on the surface to 67 matches.

"I lost four times against Rafa," Federer said. "I'd rather have that than lose against four different guys."

Nadal won the title at Monte Carlo for the third straight year. The two-time defending French Open champion is 14-0 in clay-court finals, and 4-0 against Federer.

ยท AUTO RACING: Sebastien Bourdais raced to his second Grand Prix of Houston victory and grabbed the inside track for his fourth consecutive Champ Car title. The Frenchman earned his 25th career win in his 62nd start, continuing his unprecedented dominance of the circuit. Bourdais finished his second win of the season in style, turning his fastest lap (58.018 seconds) on his 93rd and final trip around the 1.69-mile circuit next to Reliant Stadium.

Bourdais has won 14 of his last 24 starts. With his victory yesterday, the 28-year-old star overtook points leader Will Power in the standings. Power, who started on the pole, damaged the nose wing on his car and finished 11th. . . .


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