It took an extra day, but Italy is back in the Fed Cup final.
Roberta Vinci provided the three-time Fed Cup champs with the decisive point on Monday, earning a 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3 triumph over Lucie Safarova to give the Italians an insurmountable 3-1 advantage over the two-time defending champion Czech Republic in the best-of-five semifinal tie. Monday's scheduled doubles match was abandoned following Vinci's victory.
Rain on Sunday allowed just one match to be completed and Petra Kvitova kept the Czechs alive with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 win over Sara Errani, but the reigning champs were unable to mount the same rally Russia did on Sunday against the Slovak Republic.
Russia came back from an 0-2 deficit and won all three matches Sunday to stun the Slovaks in the other semifinal. The Russians will visit Italy in November's final.
The two nations met for the 2007 Fed Cup title, with Russia taking the trophy in a 4-0 decision. Russia also came away with a 5-0 whitewash in their last matchup two years ago in the semifinals, while the Italians won a 2009 semifinal en route to a title.
Italy last reached the Fed Cup final in 2010, beating the United States for a second straight championship. The Italians also topped Belgium for the 2006 crown and will play in the final for the fifth time in the last eight years.
The Czechs lost in Fed Cup play for the first time since Italy knocked them off in the 2010 semifinals.