Moscow, Nov. 22 (Reuters): Mary Pierce outlasted Meghann Shaughnessy 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 in a baseline battle lasting more than two hours to give France a commanding 2-0 lead over the US in the Fed Cup final on Saturday.
A visibly tired Pierce failed to convert three match points in the 12th game of the deciding set, but the former French and Australian Open champion was finally able to close out the match two games later.
Earlier, Amelie Mauresmo overpowered Lisa Raymond 6-4, 6-3 in the opening singles to put the French ahead. After three consecutive breaks of serve at the start of the match, the 24-year-old Frenchwoman held to take a 3-1 lead.
She then comfortably held her next three service games to clinch the first set with a powerful ace after 34 minutes.
But Raymond fought back in the second set. After wasting three break points in the fourth game, she finally broke her opponent on her fourth opportunity to go up 3-1.