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Champions Italy secure Fed final place

The Italian team celebrate reaching their fourth Fed Cup final in the last five years.
The Italian team celebrate reaching their fourth Fed Cup final in the last five years.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fed Cup champions Italy beagt Czech Republic 5-0 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 whitewashing the Czech Republic 5-0 in Rome's Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli.

After Italy claimed 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 hard-fought 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.

Errani and Francesca Schiavone then combined to beat Hradecka and Kveta Peschke (CZE) 6-2 6-4 in the concluding doubles.

Italy will now 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, in the final.

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.