CoCo Vandeweghe can't handle French Open champion Schiavone
Francesca Schiavone,a 30-year-old who is the defending French Open champion and a 12-year veteran on the WTA Tour, surrendered only one service break and was an authoritative 6-2, 6-4 winner over 18-year-old CoCo Vandeweghe Saturday in the first match of the Fed Cup final between the United States and Italy in San Diego.
The only time the partisan crowd had a moment to chant "USA, USA" was when Vandeweghe broke Schiavone's serve in the eighth game of the second set. The teenager from nearby Rancho Santa Fe was helped when Schiavone double faulted twice in the game. Vandeweghe needed all three of her chances. It was 0-40 but it took Vandeweghe until her third break-point chance, when she won a rally by overpowering Schiavone to tie the second set at 4-4.
But Vandeweghe surrendered that bit of momentum almost immediately by having her serve broken in the next game. Schiavone then served out the match at love and gave her country, the defending Fed Cup champion, a 1-0 lead. Italy had beaten the U.S., 4-0, in last year's final in Italy.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands will play Flavia Pennetta in Saturday's second match. There will be two more singles matches and a doubles match Sunday in the best-of-five Fed Cup format.
--Diane Pucin, reporting from San Diego