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Women's Tennis (WTA)

Italy sneaks past Ukraine to reach Fed Cup semis



Biella, Italy (Sports Network) - Italy got a big doubles win from Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci in Sunday's fifth and deciding rubber in their Fed Cup quarterfinal against visiting Ukraine, as the Italians won the best-of- five encounter, 3-2.

Italy headed into Sunday in a 1-1 deadlock with the Ukrainians after Sara Errani and Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko posted singles victories on Saturday.

In Sunday's first reverse singles rubber, last year's French Open runner-up and 2010 Roland Garros titlist Francesca Schiavone came from behind to beat Kateryna Bondarenko 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-4 to give the Italians a short-lived 2-1 edge. The upstart world No. 121 Tsurenko, who stunned the 11th-ranked Schiavone 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday, then flattened Sara Errani, 6-1, 3-0, when Errani retired from their bout with a right knee injury on Day 2, leaving the series knotted at 2-2 at Biella's Lauretana Forum.

In the final rubber of the weekend, Pennetta and Vinci broke the deadlock by holding off a Ukrainian duo of Tsurenko and Olga Savchuk 7-5, 0-6, 6-1 to send Italy into the semifinals. Pennetta replaced Errani in the doubles match.

The powerful Italians have won three of the last six Fed Cup titles, including back-to-back crowns in 2009 and 2010. They are now 4-0 all-time against Ukraine in Fed Cup play.

Up next for Italy in April will be the reigning Fed Cup champion Czech Republic.

02/05 16:38:59 ET

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