Russia leads Italy 2-0 in Fed Cup semis

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 1:10 PM ET

Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova won singles matches Saturday to put Russia in good position to dethrone Italy, the two-time reigning Fed Cup champion.

Russia leads the best-of-five semifinal tie, 2-0, and will need to win one of Sunday's three matches to advance to the final.

Zvonareva, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon runner-up, got Russia off to a promising start with a dominant 6-0, 6-2 victory against Sara Errani on the indoor hardcourt at Moscow's Sports Palace. She broke her Italian opponent five times and won 61 percent of points on return.

Errani hit only nine winners in the 57-minute match.

Kuznetsova needed about two hours to record a 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1 victory against Roberta Vinci. Vinci had three break point chances in the decisive third set, but couldn't convert any.

Sunday's reverse singles will pit the world No. 3 Zvonareva against Vinci and the 13th-ranked Kuznetsova versus Errani, while the doubles call for a Russian duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to take on an Italian pairing of Alberta Brianti and Maria Elena Camerin.

Italy is playing without French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta. The world No. 4 Schiavone wants to concentrate on her preparation for Roland Garros, while the 20th-ranked Pennetta has a shoulder injury.

A win on Sunday would put Russia back in the final for the first time since 2008, when it won the second of two consecutive championships. A four-time champion overall, Russia is 4-1 all-time versus Italy in Fed Cup play.

The winner will meet the Belgium-Czech Republic victor in the 2011 Fed Cup final in November.


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