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Ruthless Errani secures Fed Cup for Italy

Italy's Roberta Vinci hits a return to Russia's Alexandra Panova during their Fed Cup World Group women's tennis final match in Cagliari, No
Italy's Roberta Vinci hits a return to Russia's Alexandra Panova during their Fed Cup World Group women's tennis final match in Cagliari, No

(Reuters) - Sara Errani romped to a 6-1 6-1 win over Alisa Kleybanova in Cagliari to spur Italy to their third Fed Cup title in five years with a 4-0 win over Russia on Sunday.

A second-string Russian side, who had to contest the final without top players Maria Kirilenko, Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, were always likely to struggle against a team featuring grand slam doubles champions Errani and Roberta Vinci.

Errani, who was also a singles runner-up at the 2012 French Open, showed her class and experience as she won both her singles rubbers with the minimum of fuss and wrapped up the title for Italy with two matches to spare.

With Italy already crowned champions, the teams decided to skip the fourth singles rubber before Karin Knapp and Flavia Pennetta completed the whitewash with a 4-6 6-2 10-4 (champions tiebreak) win over Margarita Gasparyan and Irina Khromacheva.

"We are very happy," said the 26-year-old Errani. "It was a very good week for us.

"I am happy with how I played. I was focused on every point, there was tension, there is a lot of people here and it means a lot for us."

While the jubilant Italians were leaping for joy at the Cagliari Tennis Club, the Russians were left to digest their second runner-up finish in three years in the team competition.

"The final was very strange because we did not play against the best players from Russia but it was very tough to play under these conditions. We had to concentrate and we were scared a little bit," Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti said.

"Maybe it was one of the more easy Fed Cups that we won but I want to remember that we beat the best team in the world (Czech Republic) in the semi-final. The important thing is to win when you have a chance to win."

(Writing by Pritha Sarkar editing by Tony Jimenez)

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