Fed Cup 2013: Sara Errani helps Italy to unassailable 3-0 lead over Russia
Italy eased to a fourth Fed Cup title when Sara Errani gave the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead in Sardinia.
Last Updated: 03/11/13 9:36pm
Roberta Vinci and world No 7 Errani had given the 2006, 2009 and 2010 champions a 2-0 lead on Saturday with victories over Alexandra Panova and Irina Khromachava respectively.
Kleybanova represented the depleted Russian team's last chance to rescue their bid ahead of the final singles and concluding doubles rubbers later Sunday.
However despite showing glimpses of promise, notably a powerful serve which at times Errani struggled to return, the 24-year-old Russian was outclassed by the more experienced Italian.
Errani, 26, had Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti and the Cagliari Tennis Club in jubilant mood after racing to a 6-1 victory in the first set and although
Kleybanova rallied in the second to take the third game on serve, Errani was never under threat.
The Italian broke Kleybanova to take a 4-1 lead when the Russian sent a wild return into the tramlines.
And after reinforcing her advantage in the next game the Italian finished in style, breaking Kleybanova's serve when the Russian fumbled a return at the net in the seventh and final game to secure the win.
Vinci is due to meet Khromacheva before the final concludes with a doubles rubber between Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp and Kleybanova and Margarita Gasparyan.
Four-time champions Russia went into the final missing the injured Maria Sharapova while fellow top-30 players Maria Kirilenko, Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova opted instead to chase points and prize money at the WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia.