Italy Into Fed Cup Final

Posted on July 16, 2007

Defending Fed Cup champs Italy narrowly defeated the Amelie Mauresmo-led French team 3-2 on Sunday to gain the September final.

Italy needed the deciding fifth-match doubles to edge France, with Francesca Schiavone and Roberta Vinci sealing the victory with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Severine Bremond and Nathalie Dechy.

On Saturday Tathiana Golovin put France out front with a three-set win over Italian namesake Tathiana Garbin, but Francesca Schiavone quickly tied things at 1-1 by defeating Amelie Mauresmo in straight sets.

"I don't know if it's the prettiest match I've played this year, but it's certainly the most useful one," Schiavone said after beating the former No. 1 Mauresmo. "The most important thing was to win."

The next day Mauresmo put France out front 2-1 with a thrilling 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-4 victory over Mara Santangelo, but Schiavone again played the hero, outlasting Golovin 7-5 in the fifth to force the deciding doubles.

In the doubles Schiavone stepped on court with Vinci, who has yet to lose a Fed Cup doubles match.

"Thanks to my physical fitness I can play two matches every day. I'm 27 but I can still do it," Schiavone said.

Back in the final, Italy will face Russia, ouster of the U.S., in September.