Rimini, Italy (Sports Network) - Roberta Vinci kept Italy alive in its Fed Cup
quarterfinal against the United States with a singles win, then teamed up with
Sara Errani for a doubles victory Sunday to send the host nation into the
Varvara Lepchenko beat Vinci in Saturday's second opening singles match to
even the best-of-five tie at a win apiece for the United States. Lepchenko
then gave the Americans a surprising 2-1 edge with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over
Errani in the first reverse singles match Sunday.
Vinci, however, bounced back from Saturday's loss with everything on the line
Sunday and claimed a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Jamie Hampton to force a fifth
and deciding doubles rubber.
The Italians quickly ditched the scheduled doubles pairing of Nastassja
Burnett and Karin Knapp, putting the outcome in the hands of Vinci and Errani.
Last month's Australian Open doubles champs did not disappoint the home crowd,
rolling past the American duo of Lepchenko and Liezel Huber in a 6-2, 6-2
Vinci has now been part of 18 Fed Cup doubles wins without tasting defeat. Her
heroics Sunday vaulted Italy into the semifinals against the defending
champion Czech Republic, which advanced this weekend with a 4-0 victory over
Italy lost to the Czechs in last year's semifinals and will try to avenge that
defeat in April at home. The Italians have won the Fed Cup three times, first
in 2006 followed by consecutive titles in 2009 and '10. The last two crowns
came at the expense of the United States in each year's final.
The Americans had won the first nine Fed Cup meetings against Italy prior to
dropping those two finals. This was the first meeting since 2010.
Lepchenko was the star for this year's young American team, winning each of
her singles matches this weekend. The U.S. squad went into Rimini's 105
Stadium without its top talent, as Serena Williams and Venus Williams both
opted out of playing, as did up-and-comer Sloane Stephens.
The Sports Network