Rimini, Italy (Sports Network) - French Open runner-up Sara Errani will lead
off for Italy on Saturday, as the hosts take on the United States in an
opening-round Fed Cup affair.
A weak U.S. team is playing without Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Sloane
Stephens this week.
The world No. 7 Errani will meet Jamie Hampton in Saturday's opener, while the
second opening singles rubber will pit 16th-ranked Roberta Vinci against world
No. 21 Varvara Lepchenko. Both Lepchenko and Hampton are Fed Cup rookies.
Sunday's reverse singles have Errani facing Lepchenko and Vinci taking on
Hampton, while the doubles match tentatively pits an American duo of Liezel
Huber and Melanie Oudin versus an Italian pairing of Nastassja Burnett and
Karin Knapp, even though Errani and Vinci were the Australian Open doubles
champions last month.
The U.S. is captained by fifth-year skipper Mary Joe Fernandez, while the
Italians are led by Corrado Barazzutti.
The best-of-five tie will be staged indoors on red clay at Rimini's 105
The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, but hasn't
captured the chalice since 2000, while Italy is seeking a third title in five
The USA-Italy winner will face the Australia-Czech Republic victor in a
semifinal in April.
The Sports Network