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Italy races to lead over defending champ Czechs in Fed Cup semis

Photo: /Landov

Italy's Roberta Vinci notched a 6-4, 6-1 upset victory over eighth-ranked Russian Petra Kvitova.

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) -- Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci gave Italy a 2-0 lead over the two-time defending champion Czech Republic in the Fed Cup semifinals on Saturday.

Errani opened with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Lucie Safarova before Roberta Vinci followed with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over eighth-ranked Petra Kvitova on the red clay at the Palermo tennis club.

Vinci earned her second straight-set win over Kvitova in less than a week. She beat the former Wimbledon champion in the final last weekend in Poland. That gave Vinci a career-high ranking of No. 12.

After reverse singles Sunday, Italians Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone are scheduled to face Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in doubles.

However, if the best-of-five series goes down to the doubles, Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti can switch to Errani and Vinci, the top-ranked team on the WTA Tour.

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