Italy successfully defended its Fed Cup by BNP Paribas title on Sunday after Flavia Pennetta defeated CoCo Vandeweghe 61 62 to clinch the decisive third point for the visitors in San Diego.
Pennetta dropped her opening service game against the young American but quickly restored order and took control of the match.
Vandeweghe pushed her game to the limits and too often sprayed errors from the back of the court. The teenager has a bright future but it was a step too far for her against a highly accomplished opponent.
“It’s amazing to win a match like this,” said Pennetta. “I was feeling really good on the court and I was really focused on my game. Yesterday was very tough for me to play and to win that match so today I just tried to enjoy it.”
“I’m very happy. I think all the team is very happy. It’s amazing to be here now. It’s really exciting. It’s going to be for you for all your life so it’s really nice.”
Melanie Oudin had given USA hope earlier in the day, keeping the hosts in the tie after Italy had taken a commanding 2-0 lead on the opening day.
Oudin recorded an excellent 63 61 triumph over Francesca Schiavone, the world No. 7 and reigning Roland Garros champion.
It was a tale of dropped serves at the start as both players struggled to settle. After five straight breaks, Oudin eventually held to lead 5-3 and from that moment on she never looked back.
Schiavone was far from her best but Oudin deserves credit for an impressive all-round performance. She was solid from the baseline and didn’t allow her more experienced opponent to dictate the points.
“My game is moving well and getting a lot of balls back and I think that's what I did really well today against Francesca,” said Oudin, who was brought into the line-up by captain Mary Joe Fernandez to replace Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
“I don't think she expected the ball to come back that many times, especially when she was trying to come in, and I came up with some really good passing shots.
“I think I played defence really well today. Then when I had the chance, I played good offence. I think that really rattled her a little. Then she started missing some in the second set because I was making her hit a lot of balls.”
Oudin could only sit and watch though as Vandeweghe was outclassed by the higher ranked Pennetta, who also clinched the winning point at last year’s Final in Reggio Calabria.
Fernandez is left to ponder what might have been after she made the decision to leave Oudin out of the side on the opening day, stating that she thought Vandeweghe had more chance of beating Schiavone.
With the result decided the fifth rubber wasn’t played, leaving the score at 3-1 in the Italians favour. It was Italy’s third trophy in five years, reinforcing nation’s domination of Fed Cup in recent times.
Captain Corrado Barazzutti (ITA) - 7/11/2010
Captain Mary Joe Fernandez (USA) - 7/11/2010