Nis, Serbia (Sports Network) - Jana Cepelova and Daniela Hantuchova were singles winners Sunday, leading Slovakia past Serbia and into the Fed Cup semifinals.
Cepelova stepped in for an injured Dominika Cibulkova and rallied for a 5-7, 7-5, 11-9 victory over Bojana Jovanovski in the opening reverse singles rubber to give the Slovaks a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five tie before Hantuchova steamrolled Vesna Dolonc, 6-3, 6-2, for the clinching point.
Hantuchova had opened the proceedings on Saturday with a straight-set win over Jovanovski and the Slovaks appeared on their way to a 2-0 lead with Cibulkova just a game away from beating Dolonc. However, a cramp forced Cibulkova to retire and the Serbs squared the series.
Jovanovski tried to carry the fortunate momentum into Sunday's play and was a point away from grabbing a 5-2 lead in the third set, but the 19-year-old Cepelova came back and finally outlasted her injured opponent in 3 hours and 18 minutes. A back injury slowed Jovanovski late in the match.
Hantuchova then easily dispatched Dolonc in 76 minutes to send the Slovaks into an April semifinal against Russia, which outlasted Japan in a 3-2 quarterfinal victory this weekend.
The doubles rubber was conceded by the Slovaks, making the final 3-2.
Serbia, last year's Fed Cup runner-up to the Czech Republic, played this weekend without its top two stars in former world No. 1s Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic.