After the first day of semifinal Fed Cup play against defending champions Italy, favorite Russia is leading 2-0. Vera Zvonareva cruised to a 6-0 6-2 victory over Sara Errani, while Svetlana Kuznetsova worked much harder to earn her point for Russia, defeating Roberta Vinci 6-2 6-7(4) 6-1. Italian team, short of Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta, now face a difficult task to reach the final of a tournament they have won two years in a row.
The other Fed Cup semifinal, played between the Czech Republic and Belgium, is tied at 1-1 after Saturday's play. World No.18 Petra Kvitova avoided an upset and overcame Kirsten Flipken's stern challenge to win 6-2 7-6(4). The 23rd-ranked Yanina Wickmayer, the strongest player in the Belgian team with Kim Clijsters missing, won a closely-fought encounter with Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-4 6-4.
Other Saturday's scores:
World Group Play-offs
World Group II Play-offs
(photo: © Neal Trousdale)