The Williams sisters made a sensational debut in Fed Cup competition today as the United States completed a victory over Italy in their semifinal.

Venus and Serena Williams routed their opponents by identical 6-1, 6-1 scores in the two singles matches to clinch a berth against Russia in the finals in September.

Then they won the doubles at night, 6-2, 6-2.

With Venus's win in the opening singles on Saturday, the sisters accounted for all four victories in a 4-1 romp over the Italians.

Russia completed a 3-2 victory over Slovakia in Moscow today.

The United States went into its semifinal heavily favored. An upset over Monica Seles on Saturday raised a faint hope for the Italians, but it was quickly dashed by the Williams' overwhelming performance.

Venus Williams, winning five games at love, swept past Silvia Farina in 51 minutes before her sister defeated Rita Grande.

Serena was a replacement for Seles, who was pulled out of today's singles because of an injury.

"I was just so much better today, I was out of control," said Serena Williams after she beat Grande in just 50 minutes.

About the only suspense was whether the match would be played after a heavy rainstorm soaked the red clay court. It began after a 2 1/2-hour delay.

Venus said it came down to playing or waiting until Monday and "I was ready to compete."

The two teams were tied 1-1 after Saturday's opening singles matches.

Coach Billie Jean King selected Serena Williams -- already scheduled to play doubles with her sister -- to play singles after tendinitis was diagnosed in Seles's right arm.

Seles developed several blisters on her left -- serving -- hand. The doctor's report said the tendinitis may have led her to change her two-fisted grip, causing the blisters.

Seles was upset in three sets Saturday by Farina, for her first loss in Fed Cup play.

In Moscow, Tatiana Panova, in tears after her loss the previous day, scored the clinching singles victory that put Russia into the finals.

Panova defeated Slovakia's Ludmila Cervanova, 6-4, 6-4.

Russia will face the United States Sept. 18-19 in the finals of the worldwide competition considered the women's version of the Davis Cup.

The matches will be played either in San Diego or Palo Alto, Calif.

"Our dream is to play against the U.S. team in the final," Panova said.

In the first match, Russia's Elena Likhovtseva defeated Karina Habsudova, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Daniela Hantukova and Cervanova won the doubles, beating Elena Dementiyeva and Elena Makarova, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).

After Panova lost her singles match Saturday, she said she spent the night in tears and had even asked captain Konstantin Bogoroditsky to replace her.

After Bogoroditsky told her it was too late to switch, Panova said she slept soundly.

She started the match today by losing three games in a row, but then won the set. In the second set, Panova was at match point four times before closing the set.