Italy and Australia split Fed Cup matches

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 11:43 AM ET

Hobart, Australia - Reigning two-time champion Italy and host Australia split Saturday's opening singles matches in the quarterfinals of the Fed Cup.

Jarmila Groth gave Australia an early lead with a 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3 victory over French Open champion Francesca Schiavone at Hobart's Domain Tennis Centre.

Making her Fed Cup debut, Groth had just nine unforced errors compared to 16 for Schiavone.

But Flavia Pennetta of Italy evened the score with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 win over French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur.

Both matches lasted about 2 1/2 hours.

On Sunday, the reverse singles will pit the fifth-ranked Stosur against the world No. 4 Schiavone in a rematch of last year's French Open final and Groth versus Pennetta. The tie-ending doubles calls for an Aussie tandem of Anastasia Rodionova and Rennae Stubbs to take on an Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

The Italians are captained by Corrado Barazzutti, while team Australia is piloted by David Taylor.

High-flying Italy beat the United States in the last two Fed Cup finals and has won three of the last five championships overall. The Italians also had a runner-up finish in 2007, which means they've appeared in four of the last five finals.

Coming into Saturday, the seven-time champion Aussies held a 5-0 all-time lead over Italy in Fed Cup competition, with their last meeting coming back in 1988.


Videos

Photos