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Italy blanks Russia for Fed Cup crown



Cagliari, Sardinia (SportsNetwork.com) - Italy captured the Fed Cup title for the fourth time after blanking Russia in this weekend's final.

Sara Errani gave the hosts the deciding point with a 6-1, 6-1 rout of Alisa Kleybanova in the first reverse singles match on Sunday. Errani was dominant in her two matches during the weekend, also drubbing Irina Khromacheva in the second of Saturday's singles matches by a 6-1, 6-4 count.

"We are very happy," said Errani, who needed just 59 minutes on Sunday to clinch the title after playing only 85 minutes on Saturday. "It was a very good week for us. I am happy with how I played today."

The second reverse singles match was not played Sunday and the Italians completed the 4-0 triumph with a doubles victory, as the duo of Karin Knapp and Flavia Pennetta rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 10-4 triumph over the Russian tandem of Khromacheva and Margarita Gasparyan.

Italy has now won four of the last eight Fed Cup crowns, first winning it in 2006 before back-to-back titles in 2009 and '10.

Russia was trying for its fifth Fed Cup championship in the past 10 years. The Russians won consecutive titles in 2004-05 and again in 2007-08. The Russians' 2007 crown came against Italy in Moscow.

The Czech Republic had won the past two Fed Cups, beating Russia in the 2011 final.

Russia went into this weekend's tie without its top players, as No. 136 Alexandra Panova was the highest-ranked member of the squad. Panova had the best effort of the weekend, nearly stealing the first point on Saturday before finally falling in 3 hours and 13 minutes during a taut three-setter against Roberta Vinci.

The Russians were without an injured Maria Sharapova, while battled-tested veterans Maria Kirilenko, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were also unavailable for the weekend.

Italy beat Russia for just the second time in seven Fed Cup matchups. The only other victory for the Italians came in the 2009 semifinals.

11/03 08:28:06 ET


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