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Fed Cup: Italy Take 2-0 Lead

Posted by gauloises1 on November 8, 2009

The U.S.A’s chance of an upset would seem to be vanishingly small after Italy won both their opening singles rubbers to give the hosts a 2-0 lead. But then, stranger things have happened …

italy and the us line up

First up, Alexa Glatch against Flavia Pennetta. Glatch was the one who knocked out Flavia Pennetta in the opening round of Roland Garros (and I remember commenting then that it was quite the impressive Fed Cup audition). However, Pennetta was reportedly sick on that occasion and it was a different story today as Flavia was on totally dominant form, smacking down Glatch 63 61 for the first point.

flavia pennetta

alexa glatch mjf

flavia pennetta celebrates4

pennetta celebrates with teammates

It was the turn of Melanie Oudin and Francesca Schiavone next, and the youngster made an impressive start, quickly breaking Schiavone to go 4-2 up when the skies opened and the match was rained off for some time. After the break, Oudin started slowly, allowing Schiavone to break back and take it to a tiebreak in which the Italian looked by far the stronger player, winning it 7-2 with a backhand return ace. The second set was a more exaggerated version of the first as Oudin broke Schiavone in the opening game, but unforced errors cost her the break back and when Schiavone held and then broke to love in the next game to go 3-1 up, it was pretty much over with Oudin winning just one more game.

francesca schiavone slide

melanie oudin

I know the Italians were heavy favourites, but it isn’t easy to go out there and do what you’re supposed to against opponents with nothing to lose when there’s so much on the line. I thought Pennetta and Schiavone were both great, particularly Francesca who wasn’t on great form but fought her way to a convincing win. And it gave her the chance to show off her fantastic range of celebratory expressions.

francesca schiavone

francesca schiavone

francesca schiavone

I call this one the ‘Popeye’.

It isn’t quite done and dusted yet, but all Italy need is one more point and you have to consider Pennetta vs. Oudin and Schiavone vs. Glatch as heavily tilted in the home team’s favour. Unless they choke or the U.S. finds something truly special from somewhere, it’s hard to see this ending well for the U.S.

francesca schiavone corrado barrazzutti

schiavone celebrates with teammates

Forza.

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