Italy wins Fed Cup title 3-0 over U.S.
Italy clinched its second Fed Cup title in four years on Sunday after Flavia Pennetta beat U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin 7-5, 6-2.
Pennetta's victory gave the experienced Italians took an insurmountable 3-0 lead over a young United States team in the best-of-five series on an outdoor clay court at the Rocco Polimeni club.
Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone also scored straight-set singles victories Saturday.
The U.S. was without Serena and Venus Williams, who opted not to play after meeting in the season-ending WTA Tour championships final last weekend.
The U.S. has won a record 17 Fed Cups, but last won the title in 2000.
Italy won its first Fed Cup title in 2006 over Belgium and Justine Henin and lost the 2007 final to Russia.
The Italians celebrated this time by launching captain Corrado Barazzutti up and down into the air, then ran around the court dousing each other with water bottles.
"These girls are incredible," Barazzutti said. "They've written another chapter in Italian tennis history. I think they're one of the best teams in the history of Italian sports - not many other teams have won two titles in four years.
"The first victory was extraordinary and this second one goes beyond expectations."
The 11th-ranked Pennetta opened the series by beating 20-year-old Alexa Glatch and the 16th-ranked Schiavone made it 2-0 with a win over the 18-year-old Oudin.
With threatening skies overhead and occasional rain falling, Pennetta overpowered Oudin at times, serving six aces and hitting 26 winners to Oudin's 12.
The 27-year-old Italian used her experience to move Oudin out of her comfort zone, giving the American teenager less time to wind up her big forehand.
Oudin recovered from an early break in the first set but then hit her only double-fault of the match to give Pennetta a 6-5 lead. The Italian served out the set with poise, hitting a powerful first serve on set point that forced Oudin's backhand return to land in the net.
Pennetta also jumped out to an early break in the second set, loading up for a blistering backhand cross-court winner to take a 2-1 lead and then cruised from there.
Both Pennetta and Schiavone have had career years. Pennetta won back-to-back titles in Palermo, Sicily, and Los Angeles en route to becoming the first Italian woman to reach the top 10 in August and Schiavone recently won a $1 million title in Moscow - the richest prize ever for an Italian woman.