Italian team was short of Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta, and world No.37 Roberta Vinci leading the weakened team wasn’t enough to make Italy closer to their third straight Fed Cup title. Italy lost the Fed Cup semifinal against Russia 5-0.
The withdrawals of the fourth-ranked Schiavone (she wanted to prepare for her French Open title defence) and the 20th-ranked Pennetta (absent with shoulder injury) provoked Vinci to criticize her compatriots.
"If they didn't want to come it's their problem," said Vinci who lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-7(4) 6-1 and to Vera Zvonareva 6-4 6-2 in the Fed Cup semifinals.
In the other semifinal, Czech Republic won the decisive doubles (Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova defeated Yanina Wickmayer and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 6-4) and thus defeated Belgium 3-2.
In the other ties, Jelena Jankovic and Aleksandra Krunic completed a thrilling fightback to beat Slovaks Daniela Hantuchova and Magdalena Rybarikova 2-6 7-5 9-7, thus putting Serbia in the World Group in 2012. Germany will also be in the World Group, as Andrea Petkovic scored her first tie-clinching victory in Fed Cup.
Also, for the first time ever will the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group will be without France, as Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Lourdes Dominguez Lino won both their reverse singles matches for Spain on Sunday. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)