Cagliari - Seventh-ranked Roberta Vinci will take on Alexandra Panova and Sara
Errani will face 18-year-old Irina Khromacheva on the opening day of the
Fed Cup final between Italy and Russia.
Russia has won the
tournament four times in the past 10 years but has traveled to Italy
without any of its stars, who instead will play in the Tournament of
Its highest ranked player is Alisa Kleybanova, who at No. 183
is ranked 95 places below Italy's fourth player, Karin Knapp.
don't know her very much. I'll see maybe on internet how she plays,"
"She's very young but she's a good player so it won't be
easy for sure but we are ready to go on court and give everything.
know we are favorite but it's not easy.
"We know there will be a lot of
tension but we will try to focus on our game and try our best.
be full of people so it will be nice for sure."
Khromacheva, Panova and Margarita Gasparyan have never before played for their country.
Italy is in its fifth final in eight years and is the overwhelming favorite to claim its fourth Fed Cup title.
are favorite in this final but I say many times we play Fed Cup and
this kind of competition is very dangerous," Italy captain Corrado
"We have to play and win.
"It will be a tough match as
any other Fed Cup matches."
The reverse singles are Sunday with
Errani taking on Panova and Vinci facing Khromacheva.
Vinci and Errani
are the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world but Barazzutti has chosen
Flavia Pennetta — who has been a part of three Fed Cup-winning teams —
and Knapp to face Kleybanova and Gasparyan.
The best-of-five series starts Saturday.