Italy wins Fed Cup without Williams sisters

After beating the United States at home and on the road in

consecutive Fed Cup finals, the Italians really don’t care if the

Williams sisters were absent both times.

Flavia Pennetta beat CoCo Vandeweghe to give Italy its second

straight Fed Cup final victory over the United States. Pennetta’s

victory in the fourth singles match Sunday gave the Italians a 3-1

decision in the best-of-five series.

Venus and Serena Williams sat out last year’s Fed Cup final, and

both missed this one due to injuries.

”Of course, if Serena and Venus want to play, the chance to

win, it’s less,” said Pennetta, who is ranked second in the world

in doubles and 23rd in singles. ”They are really good players.

They are really strong. But we fight a lot to be here, to have this

trophy. Before we play the U.S., we play another two important

teams. All the best players in the other teams were there. It’s not

making any difference if they play or not play.

”Still we won this unbelievable Fed Cup, and nobody can say

nothing about that.”

Pennetta won the deciding match 6-1, 6-2 after Melanie Oudin

beat French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-1 to keep the

United States alive.

Italy beat the United States 4-0 last year. The Italians have

won three titles in five years.

Pennetta won two matches during the weekend to carry the

Italians. Vandeweghe, making her Fed Cup debut, lost twice. With

the match decided, doubles weren’t played.

”I always think in Fed Cup you can beat everyone, you can lose

to everyone,” Pennetta said. ”It’s not easy to play for your

country, to give your best for the time that you are on the court,

because sometime you can be real nervous and you can have a panic

attack. But I really enjoyed today for my country. I enjoyed

playing for this team.”

Vandeweghe wiped away tears at the post-match news

conference.

”I was very disappointed in myself and the way that it turned

out, but I tried my best out there and fought as hard as I could,”

she said. My mindset going in was to play as hard as I can, play

the way I know how to play, do the best I can out there.”

Billie Jean King watched from the front row.

”I heard her cheering,” Oudin said. ”I was playing for

myself, the team and the whole U.S.”