Italy punches ticket to Fed Cup semis

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

Hobart, Australia - Victories from Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta on Sunday sent reigning two-time champion Italy into the Fed Cup semifinals with a victory over Australia.

After splitting the first two singles encounters on Saturday, Schiavone gave the Italians the lead with a 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 7-5 victory over Samantha Stosur in a rematch of the 2010 French Open final.

Pennetta then gave Italy the victory in the best-of-five rubber by winning her 10th consecutive Fed Cup match, this one by a 6-3, 6-2 decision over Jarmila Groth at Hobart's Domain Tennis Centre.

Pennetta took advantage of three double faults from her opponent and closed out the match in just 66 minutes.

In the tie-ending doubles, the Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci beat the Aussie tandem of Anastasia Rodionova and Rennae Stubbs, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4. This was the last doubles match in the career of Stubbs, who has four grand slam titles. She won nearly 800 doubles matches in her career.

The Italians will face either France or Russia in the semifinals. France leads Russia 2-0 in Moscow in a tie to be completed later Sunday.

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 the weekend, 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