Four top 20 players and Serena Williams in action at this weekend's Fed Cup first round - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

Four top 20 players and Serena Williams in action at this weekend’s Fed Cup first round



Four top 20 players Karolina Pliskova, Jelena Ostapenko, Venus Williams and Joanna Konta will be in the spotlight in the first round of the BNP Paribas Fed Cup this weekend. Serena Williams will play only the eventual doubles match on Sunday.

Serena Williams will make her eagerly awaited return after missing most of the 2017 season since her triumph at the Australian Open. The 36-year-old star gave birth to her first daughter last September and missed the first Grand Slam tournament of the 2018 season in Melbourne. Williams will be in action this weekend when the US team will face the Netherlands in Asheville.

All Fed Cup rubbers will be played over the best of three tie-break sets for the first time in the history of this event as part of a new trial.

USA vs Netherlands:

The US team named by Kathy Rinaldi will feature a star-studded team featuring Coco Vandeweghe, two-time Grand Slam semifinalist and Fed Cup champion in 2017, Venus and Serena Williams and Lauren Davis. Serena will make her first appearance since winning her 23rd Grand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open. However, she was not selected for the singles matches, as she is not in her best shape. Her sister Venus will play the opening match against Aranxta Rus. Coco Vandeweghe will play in the second singles rubber against Rigel Hogenkamp. On Sunday Venus will face Hogenkamp, while Vandeweghe will take on Rus. In the eventual decisive doubles matches Serena will team up with Lauren Davis against Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs.

The defending champions, who beat Belarus in the 2017 Fed Cup final last November, will be strong favourites against the Dutch team, which features Arantxa Rus, Demi Scuurs and Lesley Kerkhove. This tie will be held at the US Cellular Arena in Asheville.

Czech Republic vs Switzerland:

Czech Republic is favourite against Switzerland in front of their fans at the O2 Arena in Prague. The home team has won six of their seven previous head-to-head matches against Switzerland. In their most recent head-to-head clash in 2016 Czech Republic won the decisive fifth rubber in 2016.

Czech Republic is formed by Barbora Strykova, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova Lucie Safarova.

Swiss captain Heinz Guenthardt has named Timea Bacsinszky, Belinda Bencic, Viktorija Golubic and Jil Teichmann.

Kvitova, who won the St. Petersburg final last week against Kristina Mladenovic, will play as Czech world number 1 after Karolina Pliskova has been forced to withdraw from the first day due to a stomac bug. She will play against Viktorija Golubic in the inaugural match. Golubic beat both Pliskova and Strykova in the 2016 Fed Cup. Strykova will take on Bencic in the second singles rubber. Pliskova will team up with Safarova against Bacsinszky and Teichmann in the doubles match.

France vs Belgium:

This year’s Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens will lead Belgium against France in La Roche sur Yon. The Belgian team formed by Kirsten Flipkens, Alison Van Uytvanck and Ysaline Bonaventure will be looking to win their seventh consecutive tie. This year’s Australian Open doubles champion and St. Petersburg finalist Kristina Mladenovic will team up with Pauline Parmentier and Amandine Hesse. Clara Burel has been named as French number 4 player after finishing runner-up at this year’s Australian Open Junior tournament.

Parmentier will open against Elise Mertens (winner of the last two editions of the Hobart tournament) in the first singles rubber on Saturday. Mladenovic will take on Kirsten Flipkens in Saturday’s second singles rubber. Flipkens made her debut in the Fed Cup at the age of 17 and will play in her 15th consecutive season at this event.

Belarus vs Germany:

Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka will lead Belarus against Germany at the Chzhovska Arena in Minsk, the same venue where they lost last year’s final against the USA last November. Belarus will start as favourites against a German team, which will not feature their best players Angelique Kerber and Julia Goerges, but will rely on Tatjana Maria, Anna-Lena Friedsman and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

Sasnovich is in great form this year and reached the final last January at the Brisbane International and has already won 19 Fed Cup matches in her career. She will face Antonia Lottner, who edged the player from Belarus in their only previous match in Stuttgart in 2014.

“I am very excited. I love to play at home. It’s an unbelievable atmosphere”, said Sasnovich.

Sabalenka will face Tatiana Maria, who will make her first appearance in the Fed Cup since 2011. Sabalenka beat Maria 6-3 7-5 in their previous head-to-head match in Tashkent. Sabalenka won two decisive rubbers helping Belarus reach the 2017 Fed Cup final. Friedsman and Groenefeld will take on Vera Lapko and Lidziya Marozava in the doubles match.

World Group II:

Italy vs Spain:

Sara Errani will lead a young team formed by Jasmine Paolini, Deborah Chiesa and this year’s Australian Open Junior semifinalist Elisabetta Cocciaretto against the Spanish team captained by new captain Anabel Medina Garrigues, which will feature Carla Suarez Navarro, Lara Arruabarrena, Georgina Garcia Perez and Mara José Martinez Sanchez. Italy has not beaten Spain in the Fed Cup since 2006. The Pala Tricalle Sandro Leombroni in Chieti will be the venue of this Fed Cup tie.

Romania vs Canada:

This year’s Australian Open finalist and world number 2 Simona Halep will lead Romania against a youn Canadian team in Cluj-Napoca. The Romanian team will be formed bt two more top 50 players Sorana Cristea. Irina Camelia Begu and Raluca Olaru. They will be stong favourites against Canada, which will be represented by Carol Zhao, Bianca Andreescu, Katherine Sebov and this year’s Australian Open mixed doubles champion Gabriela Dabrowski.

Slovakia vs Russia:

The Aegon Arena in Bratislava is the venue of the tie between Slovakia and Russia. World number 19 Magdalena Rybarikova leads the home team which will also feature Jana Cepelova, Viktoria Kuzmova and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. In the Russian team 2016 Wimbledon girls singles champion Anastasia Potapova will make her debut in the Fed Cup. The other three players Natalya Vikhlyantseva, Anna Kalinskaya and Veronika Kudermetova have made just one appearance at this event.

Australia vs Ukraine:

Australia will host Ukraine in Canberra on grass. The home team will start as strong favourite as they feature a strong team formed by Ashleigh Barty, Daria Gavrilova, Casey Dellacqua and Destanee Aieva. Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk will make her debut in the Fed Cup after reaching the third round at the Australian Open last January. Lyudmila Kichenko, Nadilia Kichenok and Daria Lopatetska will be the other three members of the Ukrainian team. Ukraine won three of the last four Fed Cup ties against Australia.


Fed Cup

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



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



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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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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