Vinci defeats Hampton to level for Italy
Doubles will decide the first-round Fed Cup tie between host Italy and the United States.
Roberta Vinci roared out to a 5-0 lead in the final set to dispatch American Jamie Hampton, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 and deadlock the tie, 2-2, forcing the decisive doubles on the red clay of Rimini.
Liezel Huber and Varvara Lepchenko will face Vinci and Sara Errani, the reigning Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open doubles champions, in the doubles match.
Earlier today, Lepchenko beat 2012 French Open finalist Errani, 7-5, 6-2, to give the United States a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five match Fed Cup first-round tie.
The 29-year-old Vinci, playing with taping on her left leg and fighting fatigue from a three-set loss to Lepchenko on Saturday, took the court knowing a loss would eliminate Italy from the World Group.
Relying on her court craft and using her soft slice backhand and topspin forehand to change up the spins and speeds of her shots, Vinci broke twice at the start of the third set before holding at 15 to stretch her lead to 5-0.
Playing the pivotol points with more care, Vinci converted six-of-nine break points, while Hampton was three-of-10 on break-point opportunities.
Two games later, Hampton’s backhand return down the line missed the mark wide as Vinci sealed the 93-minute win to level the tie.