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

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

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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.

Fed Cup

Fed Cup Draws: Great Britain Get Second Home Tie In Two Months, Czechs Look To Bounce Back

Great Britain will have another home tie as they face Kazakhstan in April’s World Group II Play-Offs

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Johanna Konta (@SkySportsTennis - Twitter)

After waiting 26 years for a home tie, Great Britain will have a second tie in two months as they face Kazakhstan in April’s World Group II Play-Offs. 

After hosting some Zone Group I Europe/Africa action in Bath and successfully qualifying for the World Group II Play-Offs, Great Britain have been handed another home tie.

The Brits will face Kazakhstan in April with the winners getting promoted to the second tier of women’s team tennis, a historic occasion for both nation.

This tie along with the other World Group II and World Group play-off ties will take place on Easter weekend between the 20th and 21st of April.

After finding out the news GB Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong said she is ready for a raucous atmosphere in April, “We saw the fantastic atmosphere home fans create and the role they play in lifting our players beyond their limits.”

There is strong rumour that the tie could be played at the Copper Box Arena in London although that will be confirmed next week.

Meanwhile the pick of the other ties sees a strong Russia team host Italy while either the Netherlands or Japan face relegation to Zone Group I.

Czechs Look To Bounce Back. 

In the World Group Play-Offs draw the Czech Republic were handed an easy home tie to Canada as they face unchartered territory in April.

The defending champions will play their first play-off tie since losing 3-2 to Romania in an exhilarating tie in Ostrava which was their first defeat on home soil for ten years.

While the other 2018 Fed Cup finalists USA will host Switzerland and Latvia host Germany in a historic tie for the hosts as they look to make the World Group for the first time in their history.

Here is the full World Group and World Group II Play-Offs draw with the ties taking place on the 20th/21st of April:

*Home teams are first

World Group Play-Offs

Czech Republic v Canada

USA v Switzerland

Latvia v Germany

Belgium v Spain

World Group II Play-Offs

Russia v Italy

Japan v Netherlands

Great Britain v Kazakhstan

Slovakia v Brazil

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Fed Cup

Simona Halep Vows To ‘Give Her All’ In Fed Cup Following Shock Win For Romania

The former world No.1 has her eyes set on winning the team competition this year.

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Simona Halep cheering on Romania in their Fed Cup clash with The Czech Republic (image via ubitennis.com)

Reigning French Open champion Simona Halep has pledged to fully commit herself to the Fed Cup after helping guide Romania to a shock win over the weekend.

Halep recorded wins over Katerina Siniakova and Karolina Pliskova during her country’s surprise 3-2 win over heavyweights the Czech Republic. A team who has won the title in six of the past eight years of the competition. The deciding win was clinched in the doubles when Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu defeated Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-4 in a match that lasted just under three hours.

“It was my biggest and best win in the Fed Cup and to win both rubbers against the Czech Republic means a lot to me because they have such a big history in this competition,” Halep told reporters following her win over Pliskova.

Romania now finds themselves in the semifinals of the competition for the first time since 1973. Last year the team defeated Canada in Group II and then won their play-off tie against Switzerland to graduate to the top tier of the competition. They have a winning 6-3 record in the Fed Cup since 2015.

Reflecting on the latest triumph, Halep believes it will help inspire the next generation of players in her home country. During an interview with Telekom Sport on Sunday, the former world No.1 say she will ‘give her all’ to the team this year.

“It was a very tensed match, it was even harder in the stands. I was very nervous. Monica asked me before if I want to get in court, but I told her she is better.” The Romanian Journal quoted Halep as saying.
“We all made a huge effort for this game. We played against a big champion, Czech Republic. the girls are extraordinary, they left their heart on the court, so they managed to win.
“As I said before, this year I am giving all for the Fed Cup team. It is a huge step for us, for our country. The little ones who start playing tennis can trust us. This Fed Cup means something.”

Hoping to reach the final for the first time in history, Romania will take on France in the semi-finals in April. A country they last played back in 1976 at the Spectrum Stadium in Philadelphia, America. France defeated Belgium 3-1 in their quarter-final tie.

The semi-final tie will be held in France at a yet to be confirmed venue. In the other semi-final, Australia will take on Belarus.

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Fed Cup

Belarus, France Cruise Into Fed Cup Semifinals

It was a day to remember for Aryna Sabalenka and Caroline Garcia in their Fed Cup ties on Sunday.

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Aryna Sabalenka (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Aryna Sabalenka has guided Belarus into the semi-finals of the Fed Cup for only the second time in history following a dominant performance on the second day of her country’s tie against Germany.

Belarus had a 2-0 lead over Germany heading into the final day of the clash. World No.9 Sabalenka clinched the unassailable lead for Belarus after thrashing Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1, after 79 minutes of play. Sabalenka blasted 19 winners past her German opponent and converted five out of nine break point opportunities. Giving her a perfect record in singles matches over the weekend. On Saturday Sabalenka dropped only three games in her opening match against Andrea Petkovic.

“I’m so happy and our team are so happy and it’s an unbelievable result to win 3-0 and to win two matches, it’s incredible,” Sabalenka told fedcup.com after the match.
“I know she’s a great player, she plays consistent tennis. She has a tricky game and it’s really tough to play against her, but I was watching her matches to see what she was doing on the court.”

30-year-old Siegemund, who was playing in only her third Fed Cup tie, admitted that she failed to capitalize on her chances she had in the match. Germany has now been relegated to the World Group play-offs. They will find out their opponents on Tuesday when the draw is made.

“I didn’t take my chances.” Said Siegemund. “I had a few, but at the moment she plays so aggressive and solid that it’s really hard. When you get chances you get them once and then you feel sometimes pressure that you have to do it now and you start to rush it a little bit, maybe. I think she’s just a very good player.”

The 4-0 victory for Belarus was secured in the women’s doubles. Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka teamed up with Lidziya Marozava to defeat Mona Barthel and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-1, 0-6, 11-9.

“I feel really happy, obviously our tie was over before I stepped onto the court, which, in one way the stress is relieved, but I was really looking forward to playing my singles today.” Azarenka said afterwards.

Belarus will play either America or Australia in the next round of the competition. It is the second time they have reached the semi-final stage after 2017, when they finished runners-up.

Garcia guides France to glory

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In the Belgian city of Liege, Caroline Garcia clinched the crucial victory for France in their tie against Belgium. After coming through a tense three-set clash against Alison Van Uytvanck on Saturday, the world No.19 cruised past Elise Mertens. Garcia broke Mertens three times to win 6-2, 6-3. Rewarding France with their third win in the rubber.

“I’ve really enjoyed this weekend. I felt good on court – I had good preparation with my match yesterday, it gave me confidence, and in the warm up I was feeling good.” Said Garcia.
“I only had good stress today, so it was more enjoyable. And I played really well on the big points, made good choices of shots.”

There was some joy for Belgian fans in the women’s doubles, which completed the tie. Kirsten Flipkens and Ysaline Bonaventure defeated their French rivals 6-3, 3-6, 10-6. Putting the final score of the tie to 3-1 in France’s favour.

“The girls have been fantastic. I did not expect a score like that. I am really very happy and very proud of the way they played.” French team captain Julien Benneteau said during an interview with RMC TV.

France are two-time winners of the Fed Cup. They last won the competition back in 2003.

https://twitter.com/FedCup/status/1094617903922585603

 

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