Kvitova sends Czechs into Fed Cup final

Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic returns a ball to Sara Errani of Italy during their tennis match of...

Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic returns a ball to Sara Errani of Italy during their tennis match of the Fed Cup semi-final tennis tournament between the Czech Republic and Italy on April 21, 2012 in Ostrava.Kvitova defeated Errani 6-4, 6-3. AFP PHOTO

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, Last Updated: 2:04 PM ET

Petra Kvitova beat Francesca Schiavone in a battle of Grand Slam champions to send the Czech Republic into the Fed Cup final for the second straight year.

Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champ, earned a 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) victory over Schiavone, the 2010 French Open winner, to give the Czechs an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Italy in the best-of-five tie.

The Czechs won their first Fed Cup championship last year, beating Russia in the final. A repeat matchup was denied by Serbia, which beat Russia in this weekend's other semifinal. The Czechs will host the Serbs for the championship in November.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Kvitova. "I really wanted to be in the final again."

The Czechs completed a 4-1 victory on Sunday.

Sara Errani gave the Italians their lone point of the weekend with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Andrea Hlavackova in the second reverse singles match, before the Czech doubles team of Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka were awarded the win when the Italian tandem of Errani and Flavia Pennetta retired in the first set.

Kvitova took control early in the first match Sunday by winning the first three games, but Schiavone rallied with the next four games. Kvitova, after having her serve broken twice, regrouped and broke back for 4-4 before also capturing the next two games to win the opening set.

Schiavone secured an early break in the second set and was serving to force a decisive third with a 5-4 lead, but Kvitova won the 10th game and the set went to a tiebreak, which the Czech dominated. She won the first six points before finishing it on her second match point to set off a wild celebration.

"Every Fed Cup I'm playing I'm nervous," Kvitova remarked. "Francesca played unbelievable tennis. I'm very happy I won."

Kvitova won both of her singles rubbers this weekend, topping Errani in the second of Saturday's opening matches, 6-4, 6-3. Lucie Safarova had given the Czechs the early advantage Saturday with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory over Schiavone.

The Czechs gained a measure of revenge for a 5-0 loss to Italy in the 2010 Fed Cup semifinals. The Italians went on to win their second straight championship that year.

Italy still owns a 4-2 lead in the overall series.


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