| SAN DIEGO
SAN DIEGO Nov 7 Fed Cup holders Italy, living
proof that their sum is greater than their parts, entered a new
phase in their love affair with the women's team event by
clinching the title for a third time in five years on Sunday.
Despite having no great tennis tradition, the experienced
Italian line-up beat 17-times winners the United States 3-1 at
the San Diego Sports Arena in the best-of-five match final.
"The secret is this is a team which has played with each
other a lot and they all respect each other," Italy captain
Corrado Barazzutti told Reuters. "And they love to play in this
"In some way, they feel that this competition is their
competition, our competition. It is almost like a love affair.
They feel it's something very important to play for Italy, for
Italian number two Flavia Pennetta, who secured the winning
point for her team with a 6-1 6-2 demolition of 18-year-old
American Coco Vandeweghe in the fourth singles rubber, echoed
"I really enjoy playing for my country and I really enjoy
playing for this team," the 28-year-old said after winning her
eighth successive Fed Cup match. "We are all friends with each
other and we spend so much time together.
"It's so nice to be here with a third Fed Cup title after
five years together again in the final."
Pennetta was not all bothered that the Italians outplayed a
U.S. team weakened by the absence of top players Serena and
Venus Williams for a second successive year in the final.
"Of course, if Serena and Venus want to play, the chances
to win are less," the world number 23 said. "It's normal to say
something like that. They are really good players, they are
"But we fight a lot to be here, to have this trophy. Before
we played the U.S., we played two important teams and all their
best players were there."
Italy beat Ukraine 4-1 in the first round of the world
group before sweeping Czech Republic 5-0 in April to book their
place in the final.
"It doesn't make any difference if they (the Williams
sisters) play or not play," Pennetta said. "Still we have won
this unbelievable Fed Cup, and nobody can say nothing about
Barazzutti, part of the only Italian men's team to win the
Davis Cup in 1976, agreed.
"It's not our problem the Williams don't play against us in
this Fed Cup," he said. "Just like last year, we play against
the team that is here and so we concentrate on this team.
"We know very well that with the Williams America is a much
stronger team but they are not here, so we don't care."
(Editing by Patrick Johnston; To query or comment on this
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