Trio Of Grand Slam Champions Set To Play Fed Cup Semis, But Not The Williams Sisters

It is set to be a star-studded weekend regardless of the two notable absentees

Angelique Kerber (zimbio.com)

The nominations for the upcoming Fed Cup semi-finals took place on Wednesday with a series of top 20 players confirming their intentions to play.

Later this month Germany will face the Czech Republic on home territory at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart. Venue of the annual Stuttgart Open, which is a WTA Premier event. Germany is bidding to reach the final for the first time since 2013 and only the second time in the past 20 years. Heading their team is two-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber. She will be joined by Julia Goerges, Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Tatjana Maria.

“I am convinced that we have the quality to reach the final,” German captain Jens Gerlach said in reference to Goerges and Kerber. “They are in such good form that they can beat the best players in the world.”

Standing in Germany’s way is a strong Czech team. The country has won the Fed Cup title 10 times, including three out of the past four years. Top 10 players Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova are set to feature in the tie. Along with world No.26 Barbora Strycova.

“The team is strong but we are facing a strong opponent,” Czech captain Petr Pala said in a Facebook post. “The tie will definitely be great for the audience and tough for both teams.”

In the other semi-final, France will host defending champions America. The American contingent will be without both of the Williams sisters, who have both confirmed their absence. Earlier this year in the competition the two paired up in a doubles match against the Netherlands, losing in straight sets. It was Serena’s first competitive match (beside exhibition events) since  giving birth.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens will be hoping to guide her country to another final. Also nominated for the upcoming tie is Madison Keys, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Coco Vandeweghe. Stephens and Vandeweghe both played in last year’s final.

France will be without two key players. Caroline Garcia is skipping the event to focus on her singles career. Meanwhile, Alize Cornet is currently ineligible during to an ongoing anti-doping hearing. Cornet is being investigated for missing three doping tests within a 12-month period. As a consequence Kristina Mladenovic, Pauline Parmentier and Amandine Hesse will make up the team.

The Fed Cup semi-finals will take place between April 21-22.

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