Lepchenko tops Errani to stake U.S. to 2-1 lead over Italy

by: Tennis.com | February 10, 2013

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Varvara Lepchenko beat Sara Errani to give the United States a 2-1 lead over host Italy in the best-of-five match Fed Cup first-round tie.

Lepchenko pounded out a 7-5, 6-2 victory over 2012 French Open finalist Errani to move the Americans to within one win of an upset on the red clay of Rimini. Roberta Vinci faces American Jamie Hampton in the fourth singles. Hampton can clinch the victory; Vinci is playing to force a decisive doubles match.

Liezel Huber and Melanie Oudin are scheduled to face Italy’s Natassja Burnett and Karin Knapp in doubles, though it’s likely Italian captain Corrado Barrazzutti would replace the pair with Errani and Vinci, the reigning Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open doubles champions, if the Italians level.

A day after Lepchenko made a successful American Fed Cup debut with a three-set win over Vinci, she dictated play against the seventh-ranked Errani. Lepchenko converted six of 12 break points in a strong performance.

Cracking her forehand with confidence, Lepchenko hit 21 forehand winners and won seven of eight points played on Errani's second serve.

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