Italy secured its second Fed Cup title in four years Sunday after Flavia Pennetta comfortably beat U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin 7-5, 6-2.

The experienced Italians took an insurmountable 3-0 lead over the young United States team in the best-of-five series on an outdoor clay court at the Rocco Polimeni club.

Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone also scored straight-set singles victories Saturday.

The U.S. was without both Serena and Venus Williams, who opted not to play after meeting in the season-ending tour championships final last weekend.

Italy beat France in the opening round and ousted defending champion Russia in the semifinals, but still faced questions over the value of their victory without the Williams sisters.

“We’re the world champions, it’s simple,” Pennetta said. “We’ve played against some great teams this year.”

The U.S. has won a record 17 Fed Cups but is on a dry streak stretching back to 2000. Italy won its first Fed Cup title in 2006 over Belgium and Justine Henin and lost the 2007 final to Russia.

The Italians celebrated this time by launching captain Corrado Barazzutti up and down into the air, then ran around the court dousing each other with water bottles.

“These girls are incredible,” Barazzutti said. “They’ve written another chapter in Italian tennis history. I think they’re one of the best teams in the history of Italian sports - not many other teams have won two titles in four years.

“The first victory was extraordinary and this second one goes beyond expectations.”

The 11{+t}{+h}-ranked Pennetta opened the series by beating 20-year-old Alexa Glatch and the 16{+t}{+h}-ranked Schiavone made it 2-0 with a win over the 18-year-old Oudin.

Oudin said she let her team and country down by losing twice. But after scoring an important point against the Czech Republic in the semifinals and having the experience of playing No. 1 singles here, she also had something to be enthusiastic about for the future.

“I think this was a great experience for me,” Oudin said “I’m going to look back on it and someday when I’m in a Fed Cup final again, hopefully I’ll be able to pull out the win. It will go my way instead of theirs next time.”

With threatening skies overhead and occasional rain drops falling, Pennetta overpowered Oudin at times, serving six aces and hitting 26 winners to Oudin’s 12.

“The serve is a shot that I’ve worked on for years and I think it has really improved these last two years,” Pennetta said.

Pennetta reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals the last two years, and the 27-year-old Italian used her experience to construct the points and move Oudin out of her comfort zone, giving the American teenager less time to wind up her big forehand.

Oudin recovered from an early break in the first set but then hit her only double fault of the match to give Pennetta a 6-5 lead. The Italian served out the set with poise, hitting a powerful first serve on set point that forced Oudin’s backhand return to land in the net.

Pennetta also jumped out to an early break in the second set, loading up for a blistering backhand cross-court winner to take a 2-1 lead, then cruised from there.

Still, the Italian had praise for Oudin, who also came through qualifying to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon before her run to the last eight at Flushing Meadows.

“She’s a good player and a real fighter,” Pennetta said. “She’s very young for what she has already accomplished. You have to play well to beat her; you can’t just go out on the court and win easily.”

Both Pennetta and Schiavone have had career years. Pennetta won back-to-back titles in Palermo, Sicily, and Los Angeles en route to becoming the first female Italian player ever to reach the top 10 in August. Schiavone recently won a $1 million title in Moscow - the richest prize ever for an Italian woman.

“It was perfect,” Pennetta said of her year. “And starting my vacation like this is perfect.”

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