Italy, US Secure Fed Cup Final Berths

Nathan AseriosContributor IApril 27, 2009

KEY BISCAYNE, FL - MARCH 27:  Francesca Schiavone of Italy looks on against Agnes Szavay of Hungary during day five of the Sony Ericsson Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 27, 2009 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

United States and Italy outperformed their semifinal opponents in contrasting fashion on Sunday to secure their places in the Fed Cup final, which will take place this coming November. Italy will host the U.S. team.

The Italian team, the 2007 champs, dethroned two-time defending champion Russia (4-1). Francesca Schiavone was clearly the star of the team after winning both of her singles matches. Her win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the fourth rubber sealed the deal and propelled the team to their third Fed Cup final in four years.

In the other semifinal, an error made during match point proved costly for the Czech Republic as the U.S. team clawed their way back in the fifth and decisive rubber to clinch the win (3-2). This will be the U.S. team’s first final appearance since 2003.

Despite not having the formidable Williams sisters in their lineup, the U.S. team managed to make things competitive thanks to 19-year old Alexa Glatch who defied her ranking by beating two higher-ranked players to level the tie.

The U.S. team captain Mary Joe Fernandez was visibly happy with the victory. It’s her first year to coach the U.S. team and it is considered a big achievement to attain this feat.

However, the story’s not yet over. With a formidable team to beat in the finals, Fernandez is hopeful that she could sign up the Williams sisters for the November affair.

“Venus and Serena are the best players in America and basically the whole world so hopefully they can play. You have to pick your best team so I’ll be calling them and getting them ready,” she said.

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