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Champions Italy secure Fed final place

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fed Cup champions Italy take a 4-0 lead against the Czech Republic in semifinals in Rome
  • Flavia Pennetta beats Petra Kvitova in straight sets to seal Italy's final place
  • Italy now face either United States or Russia, who are level at 1-1 in other semifinal
RELATED TOPICS
  • Fed Cup
  • Italy
  • Czech Republic
  • Russia
  • Tennis

(CNN) -- Defending champions Italy have reached their fourth Fed Cup final in five years after taking an unassailable lead over the Czech Republic in Rome's Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli.

After winning both singles rubbers on Saturday, world No.15 Flavia Pennetta won her second match on Sunday to ensure her nation will contest November's climax to the tournament.

Pennetta beat Lucie Hradecka in straight sets on Saturday -- and followed up that performance with a 6-4 7-5 success over Petra Kvitova.

Italian No.1 Pennetta was due to have met Lucie Safarova, but her Czech counterpart was relegated to the bench after crashing 6-0 6-2 to Francesca Schiavone in her first singles rubber.

Following Pennetta's victory, Sara Errani stepped in for Schiavone to beat Hradecka 6-4 6-2 in the final singles rubber, giving Italy a 4-0 advantage with only the doubles remaining.

Italy will face either 17-time champions the United States or four-time winners Russia, who are tied at 1-1 in their semifinal in Birmingham, Alabama.

With both the Williams sisters ruled out through injury, Melanie Oudin opened the tie for the hosts with a 6-3 6-3 win over Alla Kudryavtseva -- who was making her Fed Cup debut.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands then lost 6-4 6-3 to Olympic champion Elena Dementieva in the second rubber on the indoor hardcourt surface.