The Norman Transcript

National Sports

February 11, 2013

Italy eliminates U.S. in Fed Cup

RIMINI, Italy — The United States was eliminated in the first round of the Fed Cup, losing to Italy 3-2 Sunday when Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci defeated Varvara Lepchenko and Liezel Huber in the decisive doubles match.

Errani and Vinci, the top-ranked doubles team, won 6-2, 6-2 against an understrength American team. The U.S. was without Serena and Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens because of injuries.

“I’m really proud of the team, they played their hearts out every single match,” U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez said. “We knew it was going to be an uphill battle.”

The U.S. led 2-1 after Lepchenko beat Errani 7-5, 6-2 in Sunday’s first reverse singles. But Vinci stopped Jamie Hampton 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to set up the crucial doubles for Errani and Vinci, who ended the best-of-five World Group series.

“They both played a great match and Roberta did a couple of really exceptional shots at the net,” Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti said. “I don’t really say much to them when they play, they’re the best, what can you say? I try not to bother them when they play, they know each other so well.”

Italy will host defending champion Czech Republic in the semifinals, a rematch of last year’s semis. The Czech Republic defeated visiting Australia 4-0.

In the other semifinal, it’s Slovakia at Russia. Slovakia topped host Serbia 3-2, and host Russia downed Japan 3-2.

Italy was a big favorite to earn a third straight victory over the U.S. after beating the Americans in the Fed Cup finals in 2009 and ‘10.

Excellent play from Lepchenko, however, put the U.S. ahead after an error-strewn performance from Errani.

Lepchenko raced ahead 4-2 before Errani rallied to lead 5-4 and was serving for the set. But the 21st-ranked American broke again and took the next two games, securing the opening set when Errani hit a shot into the net.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

  • Wainwright two-hits Nats

    WASHINGTON — Adam Wainwright threw a two-hitter Thursday night for his seventh career shutout, chipped in at the plate with a double and single, and St. Louis benefited from four errors by Washington in the Cardinals’ 8-0 victory....

    April 18, 2014

  • Rangers edge M’s

    ARLINGTON, Texas — When Kevin Kouzmanoff was riding the buses in Double-A two seasons ago, he kept his focus on returning to the majors and providing the kind of production that he is now delivering for the Texas Rangers....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shields strikes out 12 as Royals sweep Astros

    HOUSTON — James Shields struck out 12 in eight innings and the Kansas City Royals completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 5-1 win on Thursday night....

    April 18, 2014

  • Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

    MILWAUKEE — Bucks owner Herb Kohl has reached a deal to sell the franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million....

    April 17, 2014

  • Hopes high for Negro League stadium comeback

    PATERSON, N.J. — The light touch of a paint roller is enough to dislodge a chunk of plaster from the crumbling walls of Hinchliffe Stadium. Though silent for decades, the former home of several Negro League teams is getting another chance ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Ryu takes early lead in LPGA LOTTE

    KAPOLEI, Hawaii — So Yeon Ryu shot a 4-under 68 on Wednesday to take the lead halfway through a windy first round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship. Japan’s Ayako Uehara was one stroke back....

    April 17, 2014