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A 29-year-old rookie led Australia, while veteran Cedric Pioline powered France Friday as the two nations took commanding leads in their Davis Cup semifinals.

Australia took a 2-0 lead over Russia and France went up, 2-0, on Belgium in their best-of-five series.

Lleyton Hewitt and Davis Cup rookie Wayne Arthurs gave Australia its commanding lead.

Arthurs upset Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-0, after Hewitt opened the series at Brisbane, Australia, by defeating Marat Safin, 7-6 (7-0), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

Playing in the southern French city of Pau, Sebastien Grosjean defeated Belgian teen-ager Xavier Malisse, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), and Pioline defeated Filip Dewulf, 6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Both Australia and France could clinch victory in today's doubles.

"That's by far the biggest moment of my life -- that's topped Wimbledon by miles," said Arthurs, who made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon two months ago but never had been on a Davis Cup team -- not even as a practice player.

Kafelnikov, ranked second in the world, criticized the grass-court surface in Brisbane, saying it resembled a "potato field."

Arthurs was chosen to the Australian team after injuries to Pat Rafter and Mark Philippoussis.

In the French semifinal, Grosjean fought off a spirited late challenge from Malisse, who saved four match points before losing in 2 hours, 37 minutes.

"He played aggressively," Grosjean said. "Mentally he isn't very solid. I know how to be more resolute than him."

Pioline who, after falling behind, 2-1, stepped it up to put France in command as it tries to regain the trophy it last won in 1996.

"In the fourth set, Cedric showed that he could raise his game to a higher level. His speed and concentration improved," French captain Guy Forget said.

In World Group qualifying-round matches, with the winners advancing to the World Group for next year's competition, the Czech Republic was leading Uzbekistan, 2-0, Germany and Romania were tied, 1-1, Finland and Italy were tied, 1-1, Spain led New Zealand, 2-0, Austria led defending champion Sweden, 2-0, Zimbabwe led Chile, 2-0, Ecuador and the Netherlands were tied, 1-1, and England led South Africa, 2-0.

Davenport, Seles gain semifinals

TOKYO -- Lindsay Davenport is playing just like she's talking.

"I feel that if I play my best tennis that I am going to beat any player out there," the top-seeded Davenport said after crushing No. 5 Amelie Mauresmo, 6-1, 6-1, to advance to the semifinals of the Toyota Princess Cup.

Also moving into the semis were second-seeded Monica Seles, No. 7 Amy Frazier and No. 8 Ai Sugiyama.

Today, Davenport plays fellow American Frazier, while Seles faces Sugiyama, Japan's top player. Seles is seeking her fourth straight Toyota Princess title and sixth overall.

In the quarterfinals, Seles stopped No. 6 Conchita Martinez, 6-2, 6-1; Frazier upset No. 4 Amanda Coetzer, 6-0, 6-4; and Sugiyama downed No. 3 Julie Halard-Decugis, 6-2, 7-5.

"I have never won a match against Monica," said Sugiyama. "But I might have a chance if I play aggressively."

Teens rule in Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG -- Lina Krasnoroutskaya, a 15-year-old Russian playing in her second WTA event, defeated sixth-seeded Silvia Farina of Italy, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3, to reach the semifinals of the $180,000 Seat Open.

She was joined in semifinals by 16-year-old Belgian Kim Clijsters, who beat compatriot Els Callens, 6-4, 6-4.

Sabine Appelmans stopped the march of teen-agers at the Seat Open, stopping 17-year-old Justine Henin, 6-4, 6-3.

Dominique Van Roost, the second-seeded Belgian, beat Slovenia's Tina Pisnik, 7-5, 6-3 and is the only seeded player left in the tournament.

She will play Krasnoroutskaya in the semifinals, with Clijsters facing Appelmans in the other match.

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