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Italy reach Fed Cup final

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:26

Francesca Schiavone’s 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 6-2 win over Fed Cup debutant Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova gave the Italians an unassailable 3-1 lead in their World Group semi-final.

Starting the day 2-0 behind, Svetlana Kuznetsova had kept Russia in the contest with a 6-0 6-3 success over Flavia Pennetta in the third rubber. Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci beat Pavlyuchenkova and Nadia Petrova 1-6 6-3 6-4 in the doubles.

The Italians will face USA in November’s final after Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands completed a glorious comeback against Czech pair Iveta Benesova and Kveta Peschke in the decisive doubles rubber in Brno.

In the play-offs, Ukraine and Serbia completed emphatic victories to confirm their places in the World Group for the first time.

Ukraine powered to a 5-0 win over Argentina, Alona Bondarenko sealing victory with a 6-1 6-2 win over Jorgelina Cravero.

Serbia completed a 4-0 win over Spain thanks to wins for Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, although both were taken the distance. Jankovic prevailed against Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 3-6 6-3 and Jovanovic saw off Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7/0)

Germany found the going rather more tough against China in their World Group play-off before they eventually sealed a 3-2 win.

An Amelie Mauresmo-inspired France fought back from 2-1 down to keep their place in the World Group with a 3-2 win over Slovakia.

In the World Group II play-off, Belgium, Estonia and Poland were 3-2 winners over Canada, Israel and Japan respectively, while Australia beat Switzerland 3-1.

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