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Italy takes 2-0 lead over Russia in Fed Cup finals

  |   Nov. 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM
CAGLIARI, Italy, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Italy grabbed a 2-0 over Russia in the finals of the Fed Cup Saturday with singles wins by Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani.

Errani, ranked seventh in the world, dispatched Irina Khormacheva 6-1, 6-4 in the second rubber following a grueling three-set victory by Vinci over unheralded Alexandra Panova.

The Italian squad can clinch the Fed Cup Sunday in reverse singles and a doubles rubber. It would be the first Italian championship since 2006.

Russia, which fielded an undermanned team -- with no players ranked higher than 135th -- will try to rally for its first Fed Cup since 2007. The Russians were without injured Maria Sharapova and a bevy of other international stars who were unavailable to compete.

The Russians performed gamely in the first match Saturday, with Panova keeping Vinci on the court for more than 3 hours before succumbing 5-7, 7-5, 8-6. Panova led 3-2 in the third set but Vinci saved four match points in the home stretch to secure the victory.

Vinci will face Khormacheva Sunday.

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