HOBART, Australia – Flavia Pennetta extended her Fed Cup winning streak to 10 matches with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Jarmila Groth on Sunday, sending two-time defending champion Italy past Australia in a first-round World Group match.
Francesca Schiavone gave Italy the lead earlier Sunday, outlasting Samantha Stosur 7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-5 in a rematch of last year's French Open final won by the Italian player. Pennetta's victory made it 3-1 in the best-of-five match.
Groth had scored a 6-7 (4) 6-3, 6-3 win over Schiavone in her Cup debut for Australia on Saturday, and Stosur lost 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-4 to Pennetta.
In the final doubles match, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani of Italy beat Anastasia Rodionova and Rennae Stubbs 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4. It was Stubbs' last before retiring after a 25-year pro career.
Groth had her service broken five times in losing in just 65 minutes in the clinching match for Italy.
"Yesterday we had our chance to finish 2-0, and also to be 0-2 down," Pennetta said. "We are both really good teams. We can play singles, doubles, you can do whatever you want with our team and also with the four of the Australians. We have to be really happy about this match."
Pennetta broke Groth's serve five times and closed it out in just 65 minutes.
Heading into her match with Stosur, Schiavone had spent a total of 9 hours, 20 minutes on court in her three previous matches over two weeks, including a record-setting four-hour, 44-minute Australian Open win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Schiavone fought off 12 break points and broke Stosur's serve once in the last game of the match. In the first-set tiebreaker, Stosur committed seven unforced errors.
"It's obviously very disappointing to come here and lose two matches, especially when they're so tight like that," Stosur said.
Australia had won all five previous matches against the Europeans, but Italy has reached four finals in the past five years and won the Fed Cup in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
Australia was making its first appearance in the eight-nation World Group since 2004, while Italy is the top seed this year.