Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Karin Knapp and Camila Giorgi gave Italy a 2-0 advantage over the United States in the best-of-five quarterfinal Fed Cup tie.
Knapp took care of Christina McHale 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the opening rubber on an indoor hardcourt at Cleveland's Public Auditorium. Knapp had five aces and smacked 30 winners in her triumph.
Later, Giorgi cruised past Madison Keys 6-2, 6-1 thanks to 47 unforced errors from the 18-year old American. Giorgi is competing in her first Fed Cup for Italy, which also defeated the United States in the opening round last year.
Keys has a chance for redemption when she meets Knapp in Sunday's first reverse singles match.
If Keys can keep the Americans alive, McHale will look to force a decisive doubles rubber when she faces Giorgi.
Team USA holds a 9-3 lead in the all-time series, which dates back to 1963, but they're looking for their first win over the Italians since 2003.
Italy has won four of the last eight titles in this event.
The winner of this matchup will meet the Spain-Czech Republic victor in the semifinals in April.