February 14, 2012

Italy have reached the semi final stages of the Fed Cup after star player Flavia Pennetta recovered from a sore back to team up with Roberta Vinci to take the doubles match against the Ukraine and win the tie with a 3-2 margin.

But most of the credit for this win has gone to veteran tennis star Francesca Schiavone who made a strong statement of her intentions this year with a strong display against Kateryna Bondarenko, whom she beat in three sets after falling behind very early in the match.

Schiavone won her match 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 to give the Italians a 2-1 lead in the tie before Ukraine pulled it back to 2-2 and the rest was left with Pennetta and Vinci, which they did quite convincingly. Schiavone, who has been the champion at Roland Garros, the French Open in 2010 and reached the final again last year before losing out to Na Li fell behind very early in the game and almost down and out in the first set, Francesca Schiavone made a strong comeback to take the set to a tie break where she lost 8-6.

She was also down 5-1 in the second set before rallying back to win the set 7-5 and take the match into a tie breaking third set, which she won pretty convincingly with a 6-4 margin. Schiavone has not been in the best of forms over the last year or so and the final of the French Open was her best result but this year, she is already showing signs that she has another Grand Slam in her before she retires.

Francesca Schiavone, at 31 years of age, has served the Italian team over the last 10 or so years and Pennetta and the others want to send her out on a high with a Fed Cup title win.