Originally written on Tennis Panorama  |  Last updated 10/24/14

PARIS - MAY 29: Karin Knapp of Italy hits a forehand during the Women's Singles second round match against Olivia Sanchez of France on day five of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 29, 2008 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
By Steve Fogleman (February 8, 2014) CLEVELAND – Team Italy blanked the USA on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio, to take a 2-0 lead in Fed Cup first round action. Christina McHale played a horrendous first set, ceding second serves to Karin Knapp. Knapp’s powerful backhand threatened to make the match a runaway for the Italian. McHale settled down in the second and broke twice to level the score at 6-4. The ultimate result was a big bang for Italy with a victory by Karin Knapp in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. McHale ran her Fed Cup career record to 5-3 with the loss. After the match, McHale admitted that “by giving her that lead she really relaxed and started playing much better.” The Italian team was especially loud and supportive. Karin Knapp acknowledged that she feeds off of them and predicted that they would feed off of her win. “We are not a lot, but we are loud. They helped me”, she said.  “They gave me confidence”. “If I get the point, maybe Camila goes on the court a little relaxed...
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