US loses to Italy in 1st round of Fed Cup
RIMINI, Italy (AP) - The United States was eliminated in the first round of the Fed Cup, losing to Italy 3-2 Sunday when Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci defeated Varvara Lepchenko and Liezel Huber in the decisive doubles match.
Errani and Vinci, the top-ranked doubles team, won 6-2, 6-2 against an understrength American team. The U.S. was without Serena and Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens because of injuries.
The U.S. led 2-1 after Lepchenko beat Errani 7-5, 6-2 in Sunday's first reverse singles. But Vinci stopped Jamie Hampton 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to set up the crucial doubles in the best-of-five World Group series.
Italy will host defending champion Czech Republic in the semifinals, a rematch of last year's semifinal. The Czech Republic defeated Australia.
In the other semifinal, it's Slovakia at Russia.