Italy blew out the inexperienced U.S. team 4-0 in the Fed Cup final behind the veteran Italian singles tandem of Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone.
Pennetta beat the U.S.’s Alexa Glatch 6-3, 6-1, while Schiavone defeated Melanie Oudin 7-6(2), 6-2 on the opening day. On Sunday Pennetta clinched it with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Oudin.
“It’s a very nice feeling. We worked hard to get to this point, finally we made it,” Pennetta said. “In the beginning of the week everyone expected so many things…now we are 3-0 and we can enjoy it.”
“I could have played better on some points,” Oudin said. “The first set was so close and I had chances, so if a couple things went my way or if I hit this shot on that point, it would’ve changed the momentum. But after she won the first set, just like what happened yesterday, she kind of ran away with it. Someday, when I’m in the Fed Cup final again, hopefully I’ll be able to pull out the win.”
Schiavone’s match against Glatch was cancelled, but the doubles was played, with Italy’s Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci defeating Liezel Huber and Vania King 4-6, 6-3, 11-9.
It is Italy’s second Fed Cup title after 2006.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
SERENA WILLIAMS, A PERSONAL PR DISASTER — Serena Williams says the only way she would not play the Fed Cup final is if she’s “in a wheelchair.” Then she bails and is off tweeting and doing promo stops for her new book in London? Thanks for nothing. This after the US Open debacle where it took her three opportunities to apologize?
ANDRE GETS A PASS — Upon Andre Agassi’s revelation that he did crystal meth for a year but got out of a positive drug test simply by writing a “the dog ate my homework” letter to the ATP, World Anti-Doping Agency Director General David Howman has written a letter to the ATP asking, ‘What’s up with that?’ Howman would not elaborate on the letter sent to the ATP, but he told The Associated Press he hopes it “would bring a considered response.” “Our task is to protect the clean athletes and to make sure that these sorts of things don’t recur,” Howman said by telephone. “And if we didn’t take any steps, somebody would be knocking on our door saying, ‘Well, what are you doing about this?'”
The ATP in a statement said, “The ATP can confirm it has received a letter from WADA. When it responds it will do so directly to WADA and not through the media.” Oooh. And while Agassi admits in his new book he did meth for a year, the ATP says, “The ATP would also like to reiterate its policy of not commenting on anti-doping test results unless and until an anti-doping violation has been found.” Talk about not wanting to find a violation.
ANDRE GETS A PASS II — From Sportstar Weekly on the Andre Agassi debacle: “A man lying through his teeth to save his skin is quite the norm. A governing body [ATP] patting him on the back and letting him off is not. And therein lies the point of distress. Dick Pound, former WADA head, summed it up perfectly. “The fact that one of the stars acknowledged that it is simple to beat the system tells you everything you need to know.”
GIVE ANDRE A PASS — Anonymous poster on Yahoo! Sports: “How much of his earnings do you think he has poured into his charity? Let me tell you something, Agassi has done more for black kids than Venus and Serena ever have. His book would have sold anyway regardless of his revelation. He could have left it out and it would have still gone to #1. He already had a compelling story, the MOST compelling story in the history of tennis. It was already going to be a great read. And not only is his story of being a teen prodigy pummeled by his father, rising to the top, falling down, then coming back again an amazing story in itself, but Agassi is probably the BEST analyst of tennis out there right now. No one is better than him at analyzing a person’s game, and he’s played against almost all the greats in history that you’ve heard of. It would be an amazing read just for his analysis. He didn’t need to reveal these things to sell a book, he did it because he felt it was the right thing to do. He was a troubled person for a long period of his life and he needed to open up about that. Give the man a break.”
US OPEN SLIDES INTO A MERCEDES — The US Open signed Mercedes-Benz USA as its new auto sponsor in a four-year, $35 million package that includes ad spending on the three host TV networks (cha-ching Tennis Channel). That’s a kick in the crotch to the ATP, which just got dumped by Mercedes after a 13-year sponsorship that the last few years paid $13 million a year. Stephen Cannon, Mercedes-Benz USA’s vice president of marketing, told the Sports Business Journal, “Like with golf, we dropped our tour event in favor of the PGA Championship and the Masters, knowing that majors are a different animal than a tour stop. That analogy applies for me to the ATP. Tennis is a great sport, but you are guaranteed inside of a major to get the press coverage and the customer interest.” Ouch. Maybe the ATP can pick up Chrysler.
WICKMAYER BANNED — US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer has been handed a one-year ban for repeatedly missing the “whereabouts” requirement for drug testing by the Belgian tennis authorities. “Before we can comment on doping cases until we have been notified in writing by the Belgian anti-doping agency and that has not happened as yet,” an ITF spokesman said. ATP player Xavier Malisse is reportedly coming under the same ban, which at his age would be a career-ender.
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