US sneak into Fed Cup tennis final

PARIS - The United States proved there's life beyond the Williams sisters on Sunday by staging a remarkable recovery to reach the Fed Cup final where they will face Italy who knocked out defending champions Russia.

PARIS - The United States proved there's life beyond the Williams sisters on Sunday by staging a remarkable recovery to reach the Fed Cup final where they will face Italy who knocked out defending champions Russia.

Liezel Huber teamed up with Bethanie Mattek-Sands to give the US, record 17-time winners, a 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic in a thrilling deciding rubber in Brno.

Iveta Benesova and Kveta Peschke, aiming to put their country into a first final in 11 years, led 6-25-2 and held match point before the Americans battled back to secure a 2-67-6(7-2)6-1 win and a first final spot since 2003.

Though the US will have to travel to Italy for the November 7-8 final, they will have history on their side, having won all nine meetings against the Italians.

"I'm very emotional," said US captain Mary Jo Fernandez. "There were so many ups and downs and they had match point. But our girls showed real fight and courage."

Czech captain Petr Pala said: "We were so close, we couldn't have got any closer, but I'm proud of the way we handled the match." - AFP

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