Fed Cup 2015: First Round Preview - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup 2015: First Round Preview

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TENNIS FED CUP 2015 – One week after the end of the Australian Open, the focus of tennis fans now turns the first round of the World Group and the World Group II. The top-three players Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep will be in action this weekend. The first round of the World Group features exciting match-ups like Poland vs Russia, Germany vs Australia, Italy vs France and Canada vs Czech Republic. Diego Sampaolo

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will return to playing the Fed Cup seven days after battling it out for the Australian Open title in Melbourne.

Sharapova will provide the headline story this weekend when she will return to represent Russia for the first time since February 2012 in the Indoor match against Poland in Krakow. Masha, who skipped the Fed Cup in recent years, will play in the team event in order to be eligible for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Russia will be also represented by Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, 2009 Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vitalia Diatchenko against the Polish team led by sisters Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska. The Russian team will be looking to bounce back from the first-round loss against Australia in 2004.

There is a good possibility that Sharapova will face her Polish rival Agnieszka Radwanska in what could be one of the highlights of the weekend. Sharapova has a win-loss record of 11-2 in the previous 13 head-to-head matches against Radwanska. The Polish star helped her team return to the World Group with three wins against Spain.

The match between Poland and Russia will be held in the Krakow Arena on Indoor hard court. The Arena can hold 15000 spectators.

I have had good success against Agnieszka but the matches have always been very tough and that’s what you have to expect against her especially in the Fed Cup environment”, said Sharapova.

Poland has not played a World Group tie on home soil since losing the match against Spain in Sopot in 2010. The Polish team gained promotion to the World Group last year.

It’s very exciting to play at home. It’s going to be a huge match and there are going to be a lot of people out there because tennis is getting bigger and bigger in Poland”

Defending champions from Czech Republic will play against Canada in Quebec City. The Czech team will play without last year’s Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova, who contributed significantly to the win of the Fed Cup Trophy against Germany in Prague, but will rely on rising star Karolina Pliskova who reached the Sydney final earlier this year, Lucie Hradecka, who upset Ana Ivanovic in the first round at the Australian Open and Tereza Smitkova. Canada will miss their biggest star Eugenie Bouchard and rely on Gabriela Dabrowski, Sharon Fichman, Francoise Abanda and 16-year-old Charlotte Robillard Millette. Czech Republic boasts a 5-0 win-loss record in the previous head-to-head matches against Canada.

Czech Republic won eight Fed Cup titles and three of the last four editions.

Italy, who won four Fed Cup trophies, will be bidding to get through to the semifinals for the seventh consecutive year in the home match against France on Indoor clay at the 105 Stadium in Genoa.

The Italian team will be represented by their top player Sara Errani, Camila Giorgi, Roberta Vinci and Karin Knapp. Errani bounced back from a difficult start of the season reaching the third round at the Australian Open after being plagued by physical problems during the build-up to the season.

Giorgi played a good Australian Open in which she came close to an upset win over Venus Williams in the third round in Melbourne. Roberta Vinci reached the quarter final in Hobart before losing against Ekaterina Makarova in the second round at the Australian Open. Knapp, who also reached the Hobart quarter final, lost in the first round against Simona Halep in Melbourne.

Errani and Vinci have completed the Career Grand Slam last year winning the doubles title at Wimbledon, their second Major win in 2014 after the Australian Open.

The Italian team start as favourite but they cannot underestimate the French team captained by Amelie Mauresmo who will rely on Alizé Cornet, Caroline Garcia, Kristina Mladenovic and Pauline Parmentier.

Cornet, who beat Serena Williams twice in the WTA circuit last year, reached the third round at the Australian Open where she lost to Dominika Cibulkova.

Garcia also reached the third round in Melbourne where she lost to Eugenie Bouchard. Mladenovic lost the doubles final against at Wimbledon against Errani and Vinci last year.

France leads 6-3 in the head-to-head Fed Cup matches but Italy won their last three matches. Italy broke the losing streak in 2006 when they won 4-1 in Nancy. In the last two matches between the two neighboring countries Italy won 3-2 in Castellaneta Marina in 2007 and 5-0 in Orleans in 2009. In these two matches France featured Amelie Mauresmo, who will captain France in Genoa after guiding Andy Murray to the Australian Open last week.

A possible interesting match-up could feature World Number 13 Sara Errani and Alizé Cornet. Errani won the last four matches against Cornet since dropping their first head-to-head match in Charleston in 2008.

My matches against Alizé have always been tough. I lost against Garcia twice last year. They have good players- We will play on clay but they are going to play very well on clay, so it will be very tough. I think that the Fed Cup will be always a very tough match. It’s always difficult to play for your country”, said Errani

The 2012 Roland Garros finalist explained that the secret for Italian success in the most recent editions of the Fed Cup which saw the “Azzurre” lift four titles and reach the semifinal for seven consecutive years, is the good relationship between the players inside the team.

We are a very good team and we are very close friends outside the court. I think it is important when you have the week of Fed Cup. We are strong because stay really together. We know each other really well. We have fun. We love to play for our country and we feel very good playing in the Fed Cup. It’s important for us that we give everything on the court”, said Errani.

The winner of the match between Italy will take on either Czech Republic or Canada, who will make their debut in the World Group.

France has returned to the World Group for the first time since 2011. Cornet credits much of the success of the French team to Amelie Mauresmo.

Mauresmo has been a good captain. She has a lot of experience and she always gives good advice. She knows how it feels how it feels to be on court. She knows what kind of emotion we are passing through during a match, so she has always the right words”, said Cornet.

Last year’s Fed Cup runner-up Germany will host Australia at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart on Indoor court. German captain Barbara Rittner will rely on Angelique Kerber, 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges. Australia will feature Sam Stosur, Casey Dellacqua, Jarmila Gajdosova and Olivia Rogowska. Australia leads 8-5 in the 14 previous matches against Germany. Last year Germany beat Australia in the semifinal in Brisbane. Goerges is in good form at the moment after reaching the quarter final in Auckland and the fourth round at the Australian Open where she beat Bencic, Koukalova and Hradecka before losing to Makarova.

The World Group II will feature very interesting matches. The headliner will be Australian Open champion Serena Williams who will lead a star-studded US team against Argentina in Buenos Aires. The US team, which will try to return to the World Group, will also feature seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, who reached the quarter final in Melbourne, Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keys and World Number 30 Varvara Lepchenko. The US team leads 3-1 in the previous head-to-head matches against Argentina

The Danube Arena in Galati will play host to the match between home team Romania featuring last year’s Roland Garros finalist Simona Halep and Irina Camelia Begu (who reached the third round at the Australian Open) against Spain, who will be led by Garbine Muguruza, who will make her debut in the Fed Cup.

Dominika Cibulkova, who reached the quarter final at the Australian Open, will lead Slovakia against the Netherlands in Apeldorn. The Slovakian team starts as clear favourite

Seventeen-year-old Belinda Bencic, US Open quarter finalist, and Timea Bacsinszky, who finished runner-up in Shenzhen and reached the third round at the Australian Open, will carry the hopes of Switzerland against Sweden in Helsingborg

Fed Cup

Injury Heartbreak Motivates Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Tie With Mexico

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SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Storm Hunter of Team Australia reacts during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals group stage match between Australia and Kazakhstan at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

The captain of the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team says they are supporting one of their top players after she suffered a serious injury on the eve of their latest tie. 

Storm Hunter, who is currently ranked No.3 in the world for doubles, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon whilst training at a practice session on Thursday with her teammates. The severity of the injury means she will almost certainly be forced to pull out of this summer’s Olympic Games where she would have been a medal contender, as well as both the French Open and Wimbledon. Hunter has already won a WTA 1000 title this season in Dubai and was also runner-up in Indian Wells. In both of those tournaments, she was partnering Kateřina Siniaková. 

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” said Hunter.
“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

According to the Australian press, team captain Sam Stosur said Hunter’s teammates are ‘rallying behind‘ her and “wishing her the very, very best and the quickest recovery possible.”

As a result of the injury, Daria Saville was brought in to play in her country’s singles match on the opening day of their tie against Mexico on Friday. The world No.94 was in top form as she charged to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-0, win over Marcela Zacarias in less than an hour. 

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for all of us, pretty emotional,” said Saville who has undergone surgery on her Achilles in the past. 
“It’s so nice to have Stormy here supporting us. Not long ago that kind of happened to me … so we’re giving Stormy a lot of love. 
“I felt like I was pretty determined and clearly that showed.”

Despite the blow, Australia is on the verge of beating Mexico. In the other singles match on the opening day, Arina Rodionova came back from a set down to beat Giuliana Olmos 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With a 2-0 lead, they only need one more win to clinch the tie. 

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Fed Cup

Italian Captain Tathiana Garbin Reveals Rare Tumor Diagnoses After Team’s Loss At BJK Finals

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Former top 30 player and captain of the Italian Billie Jean King Cup team Tathiana Garbin has publically announced that she is battling a serious health issue. 

Just hours after her team lost to Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup final in Seville on Sunday, the 46-year-old issued a statement confirming that she is undergoing treatment for a rare tumor that has been found in her stomach. Garbin had her first surgery in October but will have to undergo further procedures in the coming weeks. 

“I really wish to thank my Federation, which has constantly supported me with extraordinary solidarity and sensitivity,” Gabin said in a statement sent to the news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA). 
“Seville was a very important event for me, and I absolutely didn’t want to miss it despite being very close to my operation: the Federation has shown they placed full trust in me. There is nothing that makes me prouder than representing the colors of Italy. “

Gabin says she hopes to raise awareness of medical research and prevention by going public about her condition, as well as hoping to inspire others with her story. She is being treated by Professor Di Candio and Professor Morelli at the Cisanello Hospital in Pisa. 

“I thank my BJ King Cup girls, who have shown me incredible love and support. Their presence and support have been a beacon of positivity in these difficult days,” she said in tribute to her team.
“However, I would like to inform you that I will have to undergo a second surgery, required by the treatment planned by the doctors. Thanks to the rapid recovery I have experienced, I am optimistic about being back on court.”

As a player, Garbin peaked at a ranking high of No.22 in singles and No.25 in doubles. Her sole singles title on the WTA Tour occurred in 2000 when she won the Budapest Open in Hungary. Seven years after that, she reached the fourth round of the French Open in what was her best-ever run at a major event. 

Garbin has served as Italy’s Billie Jean King Cup captain since 2016. 

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Fed Cup

Doubles Delight: Great Britain Ousts France 2-1 In Davis Cup Classic

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Image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA/

Great Britain has won the last spot in the Davis Cup finals by prevailing in a highly dramatic clash against France in front of a record crowd in Manchester.

With the must-win showdown level at 1-1, the tie was decided by a rollercoaster doubles match with Dan Evans and Neil Skupski battling their way past Nicolas Mahut and Édouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(6). In what was one of the most tense matches ever involving the British team, four match points were saved by the hosts. Evans fended off three whilst serving 4-5 down in the decider before Skupski saved one when he was serving two games later. To add to the drama, in the decisive tiebreaker Britain lost a mini-break advantage twice before prevailing on their second match point. 

“I don’t know how we’ve won that fight, sheer fight. Incredible effort from Dan to come out and win this match with me,” said Skupski.
“The first set wasn’t too good. We regrouped, took a toilet [break] and fought as hard as we could. Dan saving three points in the third set. The rest is history and we’re off to Malaga.” 

The triumph caps off what has been a marathon day at The AO Arena with all three matches going the full distance. A total of more than 13,000 seats was sold for the tie which is a record for a single day of Davis Cup action in the UK. 

Earlier in the day, Evans got Britain off to a perfect start by fighting back from a set and a break down to beat Arthur Fils 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in what was a close fight. At the end of the encounter, there was a tense exchange between the two which continued during the doubles match with Evans seen making gestures towards the Frenchman who was watching from the stands. 

France’s sole victor was Ugo Humbert who beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie 7-6(5),3-6, 7-5. A new confidence blow to the British No.1 who has only won back-to-back matches in one out of his past five tournaments. 

“The team is amazing. We get on very well. Everyone’s played a part. It’s all those guys and girls standing there (in the stands) who are amazing.” Captain Leon Smith commented. 

Britain joins Australia in qualifying from Group B to November’s finals which will be held in Malaga. The team has won all three of their ties played in Manchester with their previous wins being over Australia and Switzerland earlier in the week. 

In total, eight teams have secured their place in the finals. Group stages have also been held in Spain, Croatia and Italy with the top two nations from each of those events progressing. 

Britain is seeking to win the Davis Cup title for only the second time in the Open Era after 2015. 

List of teams through to the knockout stages in Malaga

  • Great Britain
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands

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