CASTELLANETA MARINA, Italy, April 20 (UPI) -- Defending champion Italy opens defense of its Federation Cup title with an at-home series of matches against China.
The Italy-China pairing in Castellaneta Marina, Italy, is one of four Fed Cup quarterfinals this weekend. The Fed Cup is women's version of the men's Davis Cup. The pairings consist of four singles matches and one doubles match with the team that wins three matches advancing.
The Italian team of Flavia Pennetta, Mara Santangelo, Roberta Vinci and Tathiana Garbin -- the first three of whom were on last year's team that beat Belgium for the championship -- face the Chinese team of Tian Tian Sun, Shuai Peng. It is China's first try at World Group play in the Fed Cup.
Other Fed Cup pairings this weekend find Spain playing Russia in Moscow; Japan meeting France in Limoges, France; and Belgium meeting the United States at Delray Beach, Fla.
The winners advance to the Fed Cup semifinals with France-Japan and China-Italy in one bracket and Spain-Russia and Belgium-United States in the other.