The American team, without Venus and Serena Williams, came to Rimini to challenge the three time Fed Cup champions Italy, on their own soil. Italy’s team of world number 7 Sara Errani, 16th ranked Roberta Vinci, Karin Knapp at 122 and Nastassja Burnett at 155 took on 21st ranked Vavara Lepchenko, 64th ranked Jamie Hampton, number 86 Melanie Oudin and top notch doubles player, Liezel Huber.
Day one saw Errani easily defeat Hampton 6-2 6-1 in the first rubber, but Lepchenko evened the tie at 1-1 when she won a marathon match against Vinci 2-6 6-4 7-5. After leading 5-1 in the final set she let the Italian back to level at 5-5 before closing out the set. In the first of Sunday’s matches, Lepchenko again came up with the goods in a surprise 6-2 7-5 victory over Errani, for the Americans to lead 2-1. It was up to Vinci to level the tie and she did just that, beating Hampton in a seesaw three setter, 6-2 4-6 6-1.
The doubles match was to decide this tie. The Italians are currently the top ranked team in the world and are the French, US and Australian Grand Slam champions, as well as Vinci having the record of the most doubles wins in Fed Cup history – a total of 17 without loss. Vinci and Errani kept their records clean, as they easily took out the Americans 6-2 6-2 to book the last berth in the semi finals.
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