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Errani leads Italy into Fed Cup final

LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel will provide exclusive coverage of Italy’s and Russia’s championship competition in Cagliari, Italy, this weekend, with comprehensive telecasts Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3. The countries find themselves in a rematch of the 2007 final. Russia, however, will be without several of the top players who helped the team reach its sixth final in 10 years earlier this year: Maria Kirilenko, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina. Russia’s 12th-highest ranked player, Fed Cup newcomer Alexandra Panova, will face Italy’s World No. 7 Sara Errani for the first time in Fed Cup competition.

The year-ending championship competition between 2010 Fed Cup titlist Italy and 2011 Fed Cup runner-up Russia will consist of two singles matches on Saturday, and two singles matches and the doubles match Sunday. Tennis Channel will carry all matches, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, followed by same-day encore coverage on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.

Coverage from Tennis Club Cagliari, Italy, as follows (ET, subject to change):

Saturday, Nov. 2:

2:30 p.m. -Singles #1
4:30 p.m. -Singles #2

Sunday, Nov. 3:

11:30 a.m. -Singles #3
1:30 p.m. -Singles #4
3:30 p.m. -Doubles
{10p.m. - Instant Encore Doubles}

Italy and Russia have faced each other six times in Fed Cup play, with the Russians holding a 5-1 advantage. Italy’s sole victory over Russia came in 2009 during the semifinals when it won on Italian soil. The most recent competition between the two nations took place in 2011, when the Russians defeated the Italians 5-0 in Moscow. However, Russia and Italy have only met once in the Fed Cup final, with Russia overpowering Italy 4-0 to win the title in 2007. Russia reached its sixth final in 10 years after defeating Slovakia 3-2 in the semifinals and is bidding to win its first Fed Cup title since 2008.

Italy enters this weekend’s matchup after defeating defending Fed Cup champion Czech Republic 3-1. The Italians have clinched the Fed Cup trophy three times in their four most recent final appearances: 2006, 2009 and 2010, with the only loss in 2007 to Russia. Italy is captained by Corrado Barazzutti and features Errani, Roberta Vinci, Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp.

Russia dominated the mid-2000s with two sets of separate back-to-back victories in 2004 and 2005, and again in 2007 and 2008. The Russian team is captained by Shamil Tarpischev and features Panova, Alisa Kleybanova, Irina Khromacheva and Margarita Gasparyan.

 

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