• Fed Cup

Italy on brink of Fed Cup title

ESPN staff
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Sara Errani came through in straight sets in her singles tie © Getty Images
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Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani prevailed in the opening singles ties to put Italy on the brink of a fourth Fed Cup title after taking a 2-0 lead over Russia.

Vinci, winner of nine WTA singles titles, overcame the challenge from Alexandra Panova. Vinci rallied from 5-2 down in the second set and saved four match points to win 5-7 7-5 8-6 in over three hours.

Errani, playing in her second Fed Cup final, overcame newcomer Irina Khromacheva 6-1 6-4.

Russia have won the tournament four times in the past 10 years. But they are without any of their top players, with some injured and others playing in the season-ending Tournament of Champions in Bulgaria.

Italy require just one more victory on Sunday to add to their previous Fed Cup titles in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

The reverse singles see Errani taking on Panova and Vinci facing Khromacheva.

Vinci and Errani are the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world. But Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti has chosen Flavia Pennetta - who has been a part of three Fed Cup-winning teams - and Knapp to face Kleybanova and Gasparyan.

Meanwhile at the WTA Tournament of Champions, Ana Ivanovic was beaten by Simona Halep 2-6 6-1 6-3, winning six games in a row to reach her first final in Sofia.

"I played really well when she had break points to make it 4-1, and I'm really happy with the way I came back in the end," Halep said after the win.

Halep will play former US Open champion Sam Stosur after the Australian beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 1-6 6-3.

Ana Ivanovic squandered the advantage © Getty Images
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Extracts from this piece first appeared on ESPN.com

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