Murray’s girls score second whitewash

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JUDY Murray’s Great Britain team continued on a roll at the Fed Cup yesterday, whitewashing hosts Israel 3-0 to set up a play-off clash against Austria today after making it three wins out of three in their Europe & Africa Zone group.

The Britons, who beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Thursday’s match, despite Anne Keothavong’s early singles defeat, showed the same kind of form against Israel that they had displayed in their first match against Portugal, who they also beat 3-0.

Keothavong, eager to atone for the previous night’s blip, was assured in beating Julia Glushko 6-2, 6-1, before Scotland’s Elena Baltacha kept up her 100 per cent record in this week’s matches with a hard-fought win over Shahar Peer.

Heather Watson then teamed up with Laura Robson in the doubles to beat Glushko and Keren Shlomo 6-2, 6-1 for the 3-0 win at the Municipal Tennis Club in Eilat.

Murray will now hope for one final push today to see if Great Britain can give her the perfect start to her career as Fed Cup captain by beating the Austria team of Tamira Paszek, Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, Yvonne Meusburger and Sandra Klemenschits to reach the World Group II play-offs in April.

In Montpellier, meanwhile, Tomas Berdych finished off Nicolas Mahut of France with his 14th ace in a 6-3, 6-4 victory to reach the semifinals of the Open Sud de France.

The top-seeded Czech outplayed Mahut in the first set, hitting 18 winners and making only two unforced errors. Mahut fought back in the second but double-faulted to give the 2010 Wimbledon finalist a 4-3 lead. Berdych will next face Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, who edged fourth-seeded Richard Gasquet 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Second-seeded Gilles Simon outlasted French wild card Guillaume Rufin 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, and will meet compatriot and defending champion Gael Monfils, who cruised past Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-3, 6-3.

In Croatia, Lukas Lacko, of Slovakia, beat seventh-seeded Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the Zagreb Indoors where he will face the winner of match between defending champion Ivan Dodig, of Croatia, and Marcos Baghdatis, of Cyprus.