TENNIS FED CUP – France fought back from 0-2 to produce a remarkable comeback 3-2 win against Italy on Indoor clay at the 105 Stadium in Genoa setting up a Fed Cup semifinal against defending champions from Czech Republic. Diego Sampaolo
French campaign Amelie Mauresmo chose to field World Number 74Kristina Mladenovic against 2012 Roland Garros finalist and clay specialist Sara Errani for the first Sunday reverse rubber match and the gamble paid off. Mladenovic upset Errani in straight sets with 6-4 6-3 despite a difference of 61 positions between the two players in the WTA Ranking. However Rankings do not matter too much in Fed Cup and Davis Cup matches.
Mladenovic dropped her serve to love in the opening game of the first set but she was in control of the match since then. Only in the eighth game Errani broke serve at 3-5 but Mladenovic hit a forehand winner in the next game to clinch the first set with 6-4. Mladenovic cruised to 5-1 in the second set. Errani won two consecutive games to claw her way into the match. Mladenovic hit her forehand into the net on her match-point but she sealed the win on the second match point with a winner.
In the second match Caroline Garcia, who was beaten by Errani in a hard-fought match on Saturday, rallied from a set down to edge Camila Giorgi in three sets with 4-6 6-0 6-2.
The first-round match between the two neighboring European countries came down to the decisive double match where Mladenovic and Garcia swept aside five-time Grand Slam doubles champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci with 6-1 6-2.France could celebrate a remarkable win in their first Fed Cup match since 2011. It was an impressive win for the French doubles team as Errani and Vinci had won all their six doubles Fed Cup matches and Vinci was unbeaten in all her 18 doubles match in this tournament. On the contrary Mladenovic and Garcia had previously played in a dead rubber against Kazakhstan.
It has been just the seventh time since 1995 that a team managed to rally from 0-2 down. Much credit goes to French captain Mauresmo who guided France to a sensational win after Italy was looking to seal a easy win after leading 2-0 in the first day.
“I am so proud of the girls. They put amazing stuff out there on the court. In the speech this morning we have to take it step by step. It worked out step by step. This is historic for France”, said Mauresmo
“I was either going to be a genius or a nonsense captain. I took the decision to play Kristina Mladenovic because I knew that she had the game to beat Sara. We knew the tactics and she was able to deliver on the court, which is always the toughest thing to do”, said Mauresmo.
Mauresmo’s joy was a contrast to the disappointment of Italian Fed Cup captain Corrado Barazzutti. “The doubles was a strange match. Errani and Vinci are the world number 1 and we expected a little more. The pressure was big and they maybe felt it more. The French players were very aggressive and they had nothing to lose”.
Fed Cup Finals And Play-Offs Postponed Due to Coronavirus Concerns
The Fed Cup Finals and play-offs have been postponed due to fears over the Coronavirus.
April’s Fed Cup Finals and play-offs have been postponed due to current health concerns associated with the coronavirus.
Today’s announcement comes hours after the Hungarian government announced a ban on any indoor events which has more than 1000 people in it.
The Fed Cup finals were due to take place between the 14th and 19th of April in Budapest but the increasing amount of cases around the world and 13 in Hungary left the ITF with no choice.
In addition, April’s play-offs have also been postponed and will be moved to a later date, with the ITF finding away to solve the problem around eligibility for the summer’s Olympic games.
Speaking on the announcement, ITF President David Haggerty expressed his disappointment but insisted health is more important, “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators,” Haggerty said.
“This decision has not been made lightly; the threat posed by the COVID-19 is a serious one and calls for us to act responsibly as a federation and as human beings. This situation goes beyond sport.
“New dates for the Finals and for the Play-offs will be announced in due course and will primarily be guided by the length of time that tennis as a whole is affected by COVID-19. We will continue to collaborate with our colleagues across the sport to ensure that the impact on players, tournaments, rights holders and fans is as minimal as possible.”
The Fed Cup Finals and play-offs are the second tennis event to be postponed because of the coronavirus after the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was cancelled a couple of days ago.
Currently the Miami Open is set to go ahead although there is a big chance that this tournament could also be cancelled.
The ATP and WTA tournament at the Hard Rock Stadium is set to start on Monday the 25th of March.
Fed Cup Finals Draw: Australia And Czech Republic Given Tricky Tests In Budapest
Australia and Czech Republic have been handed difficult draws for the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.
Australia and Czech Republic have been given tricky draws ahead of the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest.
The event in Hungary takes place on the 14th-19th of April on clay to prepare players for the clay-court season that will approach.
In the inaugural event there are 12 nations competing for the Fed Cup title with the four group winners advancing to the semi-finals.
Ahead of April’s Fed Cup finale, the draw was announced today which has seen some mouth-watering matches set to take place.
Last year’s finalist’s Australia are in Group B and they have been given tricky tests against a strong Belarus team and Belgium.
Belarus have Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Victoria Azarenka at their disposal while Belgium will be lead by Elise Mertens.
Meanwhile the other group in their half of the draw will see Czech Republic will face tough tests against Germany and a Switzerland team lead by Belinda Bencic.
On the other side of the draw, defending champions France will look to successfully defend their title when they face Russia and hosts Hungary.
Given the scenarios, this is a fairly good draw for France who would regard clay as their strongest surface and are favourites to make the last four.
In the last four, France could play USA who have been drawn with Spain and Slovakia who beat Great Britain in last weekend’s qualifiers.
Here is the full draw with the full round-robin schedule for April’s finals set to be released on Monday:
Winner of Group A v Winner of Group C
Winner of Group B v Winner of Group D
Great Britain Handed Mexican Away Trip In Fed Cup Play-Off Draw
Great Britain face another away tie as they travel to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Offs.
Great Britain have been handed an away trip to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Off draw as they look to compete in next year’s qualifiers.
The Brits, who were without Johanna Konta in their 3-1 defeat away to Slovakia, will now head to Mexico in April looking to avoid being relegated to Zone Group I.
Just like their tie in Bratislava, they are likely to be without Johanna Konta who has one eye on the Olympic Games and also like their tie this past weekend the tie will probably be on clay.
However this time the British team will be favourites to make next year’s Fed Cup qualifiers as the Mexican don’t have a single Women’s singles player in the top 200.
There will be eight Fed Cup play-offs which will be played on the 17th and 18th of April, with the eight winners joining eight teams from the Fed Cup finals.
14 of the 16 teams are confirmed with the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I still needed to be played in early March in Dubai after the Coronavirus epidemic meant that China couldn’t host the event in February.
Here is the full Fed Cup play-off draw:
(C) = Choice of Ground
Brazil v Poland (C)
Great Britain v Mexico (C)
Canada v Serbia (C)
Latvia (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC
Japan (C) v Ukraine
Romania (C) v Italy
Kazakhstan v Argentina (C)
Netherlands (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC
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