Russian Fed Cup coach gets U.S. visa just two days before competition

Russian Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpishchev got a U.S. entry visa Thursday jaust two days before the start of the semifinal in the women's national team tennis competition.

Tarpishchev had complained about an alleged delay in issuing the visa, which Russians need to enter the United States, and the Russian government weighed in Wednesday with a sharply-worded statement blasting "bureaucratic procrastination."

The visa was issued before dawn Thursday, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said - an unusual occurrence. She said the Embassy had been aware of Tarpishchev's need to travel to Vermont and wanted to accommodate him quickly.

Tarpishchev said he would take an afternoon flight to the United States, Russian news agencies reported. According to ITAR-Tass, Tarpishchev expressed gratitude to the Embassy for "leaving an employee (at work) overnight" to issue the visa.

The draw for the best-of-five series is scheduled for Friday, with the matches played Saturday and Sunday.

On Tuesday, Tarpishchev accused the United States of deliberately trying to disrupt the Russians' training and said coaching plans had essentially been ruined.