Zina Garrison and Jennifer Capriati posted straight-set victories as the United States advanced to the final for the 19th time in the 28th Federation Cup Saturday.
The defending champion and top-seeded Americans beat No. 3 seed Austria 3-0 and will meet fourth-seeded Soviet Union, a 2-1 winner over second-seeded Spain in the other semifinal match.The Soviets took advantage of an injury to Spain's No. 1 player, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, who retired in the second set of her singles match with a twisted left ankle and was unable to return for doubles.
"It was not as serious as it appeared," Spain team manager Maria Jose Pascual said after Sanchez was taken to a hospital for X-rays. "She should be able to play again in a few days."
Garrison, ranked fifth in the world, defeated Judith Wiesner 6-3, 6-4 in clinching victory for the U.S. team, which has won this event 14 times.
Capriati, the 14-year-old Floridian, beat Barbara Paulus 6-3, 6-4 for her fourth consecutive Federation Cup victory.
"The Russians are tough, especially in doubles," Garrison said.
It will be the third time the Americans and Soviets have met in the Federation Cup, with the United States winning 2-0 in the semifinals in 1979 and 3-0 in the quarterfinals in 1980.And in Toronto, seventh seed Michael Chang rallied to defeat fifth-seeded Pete Sampras 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, in the semifinals of the $1.2 million Players International.
Chang will play No. 4 Jay Berger in Sunday's final. Berger gained the finals with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over unseeded Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland.
Chang and Sampras, two 18-year-olds who represent a large part of the future of American tennis, slugged it out from the baseline for nearly three gruelling hours as temperatures on the court soared above 100 degrees.
Despite the suffocating conditions, Chang never departed from his cool calculated approach while an equally focused Sampras kept pace.
Both players exhibited the same deliberate style they displayed in quarterfinal action Thursday when Chang ousted top seed Andre Agassi while Sampras eliminated No. 3 John McEnroe.
Admittedly still basking in his victory over Agassi, Chang started slowly, dropping the first set when Sampras broke him at 3-2.
The second set developed into an endurance that went to a tie-breaker before Chang emerged 7-5.
Undaunted, Sampras came back to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the final set. But, Chang, the world's 24th ranked player, held his serve and broke Sampras at 5-5 to take the match.
"I thought I was pretty much gone down 3-0 in the third," said Chang. "I don't know what happen, he (Sampras) might have let up a little and I was lucky enough to break him.
"I didn't think the match was going to be this tough, I thought I'd win in straight sets or he would.
"I walked past Pete in a changeover, he never changed his shirt and only about three inches of it at the bottom was dry, I thought is this guy human."