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Italy, Russia reach Fed Cup finals

CASTELLANETA MARINA, Italy, July 15 (UPI) -- Francesca Schiavone Sunday beat Tatiana Golovin, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, giving Italy a 3-2 win over France in the Fed Cup semifinals at Castellaneta Marina, Italy.

Later in the day, Nadia Petrova and Elena Vesnina beat Americans Lisa Raymond and Venus Williams, 7-5, 7-6 (1), in doubles in Stowe, Vt., to put Russia in the Fed Cup Final against Italy.

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The defending champion Italians faced elimination when the day began, but after Schiavone teamed with Roberta Vinci to beat the duo of Nathalie Dechy and Severine Bremond, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, couple with her victory against Golovin, Italy secured a spot in the finals.

For the deciding doubles match, Italy made a switch from Mara Santangelo and partnered Schiavone with Vinci. Schiavone had a hand in all three victories for her country.

She topped Mauresmo 7-5, 6-3 Saturday.

Venus Williams had given the U.S. team the lead earlier Sunday at Stowe with a 6-1, 6-4, victory over Anna Chakvetadze. Russia drew even with the Americans after Petrova beat Meilen Tu, 6-1, 6-4, and pulled out the match with the doubles victory.

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The Russian team will play host to Italy in September.

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