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Italy beats defending champion Czechs in Fed Cup

The Canadian Press

4/22/2013 12:04:41 PM

PALERMO, Italy -- Roberta Vinci put Italy into the Fed Cup final, beating Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 Monday to clinch a 3-1 win in a series that had been postponed a day because of rain.

In front of a sparse crowd -- with most visiting fans having travelled home on Sunday -- Vinci recovered from 5-3 down in the second set to serve for the match at 6-5. But Safarova broke back to force the tiebreaker, which she dominated.

The 30-year-old Vinci then broke for a 5-3 lead in the third before clinching the victory on her third match point.

"It's an incredible moment, an incredible victory," Vinci said. "It was a tough match, incredible situation. I was nervous, at the end I was also a little bit tired, but I think I played a really good game."

The final doubles match was cancelled. Italy will face Russia at home in the final in November.

"We are happy that we play at home," Vinci said. "The crowd will be important like at this moment. But I think we are a really good team."

Italy won the first two singles matches on Saturday before Petra Kvitova -- who led the Czechs to the last two titles in the competition -- kept the visitors in the series by beating Sara Errani in three sets on Sunday after a five-hour rain delay.

"It's very sad for us," Safarova said about relinquishing the title. "Hopefully next year it's going to be a different story again and the luck will be our side."

Russia rallied from 2-0 down in its semifinal against Slovakia on Sunday.