By Chris Oddo / Sunday, November 3, 2013
Sara Errani and Team Italy closed out Russia for their fourth Fed Cup title in Cagliari, Italy on Sunday.
Photo Source: Fed Cup
Italy has won the Fed Cup for the third time in five years and fourth time since 2006 after blanking a depleted Russian squad in Cagliari, Italy, 4-0.
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Pocket rocket Sara Errani led the charge on Sunday, making short work of last-minute substitute Alisa Kleybanova, 6-1, 6-1, in 59 minutes.
The victory kicked off a celebration for the Italians, who took the title back from the Czechs this season after relinquishing it in 2011 and 2012.
“It was a very good week for us,” Errani said. “I'm happy with how I played today.”
Kleybanova, who made her comeback from Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2013, came a long way just to play in the Fed Cup final. She didn't return to the tour until late summer, but when a lack of availability of Russia's top players presented a need, Kleybanova answered the bell. “I felt like I was Italian today,” Kleybanova said of the warm reception she received from the Cagliari crowd. “When he said my name and what I've been through all the crowd stood up and they were applauding so much for me—I felt really great.”
Still, Kleybanova could do little to disturb the game of one of the WTA's most accomplished clay-courters. Errani only lost seven points on serve and broke the Russian's serve on five of 11 opportunities. She did not drop a set in either of her singles matches and lost a total of only seven games.
Roberta Vinci kicked off the tie on Saturday with a grueling, three-hour and 13-minute victory over Alexandra Panova, but that was the only struggle that Russia could muster on this weekend.
After that, the hard-nosed, tireless clay-court game of Errani took the tie over.
But Italy's triumph in 2013 was not a one-woman show.
Corrado Barazzutti, Italy's Fed Cup Captain, says the effort was the culmination of another year of passionate Italian tennis. His team loves to play for the flag, and they love to play for one another. It shows, says Barazzutti.
“They have the right spirit,” he says. “These girls like to play for the country, they like to play in the team—and they like each other. They are friends, and they support each other. That, I think, is the secret to win in Fed Cup."