Fed Cup Preview: Angelique Kerber Leads The Field, Play-Offs Set To Overshadow Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

Fed Cup Preview: Angelique Kerber Leads The Field, Play-Offs Set To Overshadow Semifinals

Fed Cup returns again for the last time before the November final, this time with semifinals and play-offs which will set the stage for World Group and World Group II in 2018.

Jakub Bobro



World Group Semifinals


USA – Czech Republic

The tie was initially very hyped, but it died down after both teams are missing their biggest stars. United States put the tie on outdoor clay in Tampa Bay, Florida. This decision may impair their chances, as Team USA is led by Australian Open semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe. Shelby Rogers has been named to be the No. 2 over the higher ranked Lauren Davis, as she has proven herself on clay by reaching the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2016, but also quarterfinals in Charleston earlier this year. The aforementioned Lauren Davis will most likely only enter the tie in a dead rubber or in case of injury. Doubles World No. 1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands will also be ready to fight in the deciding doubles rubber. Czech Republic are missing their 4 best players in this tie, Kvitova because of injury and the others most likely due to the tie being played in America while the clay season is in Europe. 21 year-old Katerina Siniakova will be the leader and the team’s only Top 50 player. Captain Petr Pala decided to field the teenager and winner of WTA Biel Marketa Vondrousova as the No. 2, so she will play Vandeweghe on Day 1, despite being the lowest ranked nominated player. Kristyna Pliskova would be the presumed No. 2, but her game doesn’t really fit the surface. However, she is a Top 100 doubles player, so she might still be key to the process. Allertova’s 2017 has also been mainly disappointing, racking up a record of 0-6 against Top 100 opponents this year so far, but her best tennis is definitely worthwhile.
My Predictions
Vondrousova def. Vandeweghe
Rogers def. Siniakova
Siniakova def. Vandeweghe
Rogers def. Vondrousova
Mattek-Sands/Vandeweghe def. Kr.Pliskova/Siniakova
USA wins 3-2

Belarus – Switzerland

Belarus hosts the Swiss in Minsk on indoor hard, still having to deal with the absence of Viktoria Azarenka. Home team is led by Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who will try to retain her form from the Biel semifinals, playing on the same surface. Sasnovich won two rubbers against the Netherlands, and will definitely be the biggest threat to Switzerland. 18 year-old Aryna Sabalenka, who completed the win over Netherlands, is again the Belarussian No. 2, both players hoping to gather their Fed Cup spirit and repeat the upset from last time. The doubles team will be Olga Govortsova and Vera Lapko, both players ranked within the Top 200 in doubles, but also very capable singles players. Switzerland got together the best possible team, their No. 1 being Timea Bacsinszky. Viktorija Golubic was picked over Belinda Bencic for the No. 2 spot, mostly due to Bencic’s recent form. Bencic is set to play doubles with Martina Hingis, but Hingis actually played a warm-up tournament with Timea Bacsinszky in Biel, reaching the final together. Golubic is also a solid doubles player and could play with Hingis.
My Predictions
Sasnovich def. Golubic
Bacsinszky def. Sabalenka
Bacsinszky def. Sasnovich
Golubic def. Sabalenka
Switzerland wins 3-1

World Group Play-Offs

France – Spain

Despite the fact that the French federation threatened their players with bans, injured Caroline Garcia and Oceane Dodin are not playing this tie. The only French Top 20 player Kristina Mladenovic is the No. 1, and Yannick Noah nominated Pauline Parmentier for the No. 2 spot on Day 1 over the higher ranked Alize Cornet. There doesn’t seem to be a clear reason why, as both players have had similar results, but it may be because Parmentier’s game fits the indoor clay better. Completing the quartet is Amandine Hesse in case of injury or dead rubber. Spain is very dependent on their two main stars- Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro. It is made painfully clear when neither attends the tie, like in this case. Lara Arruabarrena also opted out of the tie, so World No. 82 Sara Sorribes Tormo will be the No. 1. No. 2 is the established but declining clay court player Silvia Soler-Espinosa, who will try to summon some of her past greatness for this Fed Cup tie. No. 265 Olga Saez Larra has also made herself available for the tie, and is projected to play doubles alongside the No. 33 in doubles, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
My Predictions
Mladenovic def. Soler-Espinosa
Parmentier def. Sorribes Tormo
Mladenovic def. Sorribes Tormo
Spain wins 3-0

Russia – Belgium

Anastasia Myskina put together a team on the stronger side, getting Vesnina and Pavlyuchenkova as her singles players, with the possibility of including Daria Kasatkina on Day 2. 18 year-old Anna Blinkova is also along for the ride. Vesnina was the winner at Indian Wells, and Pavlyuchenkova beat Angelique Kerber to win Monterrey, being in great form. However, the tie in Luzhinki is on indoor clay, so Kasatkina who just won Charleston may have been a better choice. The Belgian squad is weakened by the absences of Yanina Wickmayer and Kirsten Flipkens, producing a team of 23 and under players. Elise Mertens and Alison Van Uytvanck are playing the singles, while the former Ukranian Maryna Zanevska and mostly doubles specialist An-Sophie Mestach.
My Predictions
Vesnina def. Van Uytvanck
Mertens def. Pavlyuchenkova
Vesnina def. Mertens
Kasatkina def. Van Uytvanck
Russia wins 3-1

Germany – Ukraine

Germans are hosting Ukraine in Porsche Arena, Stuttgart, the same venue where the tournament will be played next week. World No. 1 Angelique Kerber has come, trying to get some match play before Stuttgart which is something this tie should give her. Julia Goerges has been nominated as the No. 2 over the higher ranked Laura Siegemund, mostly because of the way Goerges’ style condraticts Svitolina. It is however expected that Siegemund would play the No. 2 rubber on Day 2, making Goerges available for doubles. Carina Witthoeft has also been nominated. Elina Svitolina will lead the Ukranian team as the No. 1, Lesia Tsurenko seconding her in singles. Kateryna Bondarenko chose to play Stuttgart qualifying instead, so despite being on-site, she won’t be able to play Fed Cup. Instead Olga Savchuk and Nadiia Kichenok will be the doubles options.
My Predictions
Svitolina def. Goerges
Kerber def. Tsurenko
Svitolina def. Kerber
Siegemund def. Tsurenko
Goerges/Kerber def. Savchuk/Svitolina
Germany wins 3-2

Slovakia – Netherlands

The Slovak team has been strongly weakened by Dominika Cibulkova suffering a wrist injury while training with the team, now having to be replaced by Daniela Hantuchova. This means that Kristina Kucova is the highest ranked player, but the captain Matej Liptak chose Jana Cepelova and Rebecca Sramkova for the singles on the fast indoor clay in Bratislava on Day 1. Cepelova and Kucova are projected as the doubles team, but it is likely that Kucova would be replaced by Hantuchova, a player that possesses far more doubles prowess. The Netherlands have their strongest team in Bratislava, led by World No. 20 Kiki Bertens, who has also had doubts surrounding her start in the tie. Richel Hogenkamp, Cindy Burger and Arantxa Rus are all competing for the No. 2 spot, but it has been given to Hogenkamp at least for the opening rubber.
My Predictions*
Cepelova def. Hogenkamp
Sramkova def. Bertens
Bertens def. Cepelova
Sramkova def. Hogenkamp
Slovakia wins 3-1
*(Let it be known that the author of the article is a Slovak native, which may affect my predictions)

Honorable Mention: Romania – Great Britain

Despite it being a Play-Off tie for the World Group II, Romania versus Great Britain definitely deserves a mention in this Fed Cup preview piece. Not only it features one of the most tennis nations in the World, but also 2 Top 10 players in Simona Halep and Johanna Konta. Romania took a risk and put the tie on outdoor clay in Constanta, Romania, where the temperatures are not expected to rise above 15 degrees Celsius this weekend. Romania put forth their strongest team, with Halep and Begu in the singles, backed up by Monica Niculescu, No. 23 doubles player, and Sorana Cirstea. Great Britain is led by World No. 7 Konta, who will be seconded by Heather Watson, as Naomi Broady chose to play Stuttgart qualifying instead. Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae are the projected doubles team.
My Predictions
Halep def. Watson
Konta def. Begu
Halep def. Konta
Begu def. Watson
Romania wins 3-1

Fed Cup

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.



(@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

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.

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Fed Cup

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.



(@FedCup - Twitter)

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:

Group A




Group B




Group C




Group D

Czech Republic




Winner of Group A v Winner of Group C

Winner of Group B v Winner of Group D

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Fed Cup

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.



Harriet Dart and Anne Keothavong (@the_LTA - Twitter)

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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