The schedule for next year’s Fed Cup competition has been announced with more players allowed to play for their country in the tournament.
ITF president Davis Haggerty has confirmed that the size of teams will be increased to a maximum of five players. Although the format of the competition will remain unchanged. World Group I and II will have eight teams participating in each category. The winners of the Group II ties are promoted to a play-off stage where they will take of the quarter-finals losers in Group I for a chance to be promoted to the highest category.
“The ITF Board and the Fed Cup committee has approved that we will expand the teams to five players. Which will be great for the captains and for more players to be able to compete for their nation.” Haggerty said during the draw ceremony.
Six out of the eight nations in the top group are from Europe. In the first round, referred to as the quarter-finals in the competition, 2017 champions America will host Australia. Two years ago Team USA scored a comprehensive 4-0 triumphed over their Australian rivals. The Czech Republic will host Romania in what will be only their third meeting in the history of the tournament. Belgium faces a tough test at home against France and Germany will lock horns with Belarus.
In World Group II, Switzerland will take on Italy in what will be only the second clash between the two countries and the first since 1977. Latvia will host their first ever Fed Cup tie against Slovenia. Meanwhile, Japan will take on Spain and the Netherlands hosts Canada.
The dates for next year is that the first round matches will take place between February 9th-10th. In April the second round as well as playoffs will occur on 20th and 21st followed by the final in November (9th-10th).
Unlike the Davis Cup, there has been little talk about revamping the Fed Cup. Next month a vote will take place on transforming the men’s team tournament where the finals could be held in a neutral venue. Diving opinion amongst players. Earlier this year the head of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, said talks are underway to increase the number of teams competing in the top level tiers of the Fed Cup. A motion the could be put forward at the upcoming ITF AGM meeting.
This year’s Fed Cup final will be between the Czech Republic and the USA.
Sorana Cirstea Announces Fed Cup Retirement, WTA Stars Prepare For 2019
Sorana Cirstea announces her Fed Cup retirement as WTA stars prepare for the 2019 season.
World number 85 Sorana Cirstea has announced her retirement from Fed Cup after competing in the competition for 12 years.
The Romanian first made her debut when she was just 16 years old when she competed against Sweden in Zone Group I Europe/Africa.
Since then Cirstea has won 16 of her 29 Fed Cup rubbers but has now announced that it is time to move on and wishes the team the best of luck for the future.
“I feel like I have done my duty. And now is the time to pass the relay baton onto the new generation,” Cirstea said on her Facebook page.
“I would like to thank my teammates, the Federation, the captains, the coaches and everyone who was involved in our success, and especially the Romanian crowd that has been supporting me over the years.”
The 28 year-old will look to now improve her ranking after a disappointing 2018 season which included a 17-25 win-loss record.
WTA Starts Prepare For 2019
Meanwhile other WTA players have been preparing for the new season, which officially begins in 16 days. Here is some of the best action from the off-season so far:
The Dane decided to use her off-season to improve her tennis with a certain 23 time grand slam champion:
The Belarusian rising star had an amazing 2018 season and is using unique training methods to improve further next season:
Despite an underwhelming 2018 season, the Spaniard has been practicing in California to get ready for the 2019 season:
Practice is perfect in Julia Goerges’ case as she looks to expand on her Wimbledon semi-final:
The US Open champion is getting ready for the new season in Los Angeles as she looks to gain even more fans in 2019:
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Last week saw Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas add to his title collection at the Next Gen Finals in Milan, but one notable absentee from the tournament was Denis Shapovalov.
The 19-year-old is the youngest player inside the world’s top 100 at 27th and the fourth highest ranked among the Next Generation. A group of upcoming players under the age of 21. Shapovalov opted to end his season early due to exhaustion. Ubitennis analyses Shapovalov’s decision and looks ahead to what the future could have in store for him.
Katerina Siniakova saves two match points to secure the 11th Fed Cup title for
Katerina Siniakova secured the decivive 3-0 point to earn Czech Republic its 11th Fed Cup title and its 6th triumph in the past eight seasons at this event since 2011. Siniakova had to save two match point at 4-5 in the third set to beat US Sofia Kenin 7-5 5-7 7-5 in the third singles match to the delight of the enthusiastic Czech fans, who packed the O2 Arena in Prague.
Siniakova scored her second singles win this weekend after beating Alison Riske on Saturday.
Siniakova converted her first break chance and went up a double break early in the first set. Kenin got back on serve at 1-2 in a 10-minute game before breaking again in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Sinakova bounced back by breaking serve once more. Kenin converted on her break point at deuce at 3-5 down before drawing level to 5-5. Siniakova reeled off five consecutive games to build up a 7-5 3-0 lead, but Kenin came back from 15-40 down to win her first game of the second set. The US teenager broke twice in a row in the fifth and seventh games. Siniakova pulled the break back for 4-5 with a series of backhand winners. Kerer broke again at love in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead before sealing the second set on the fourth set point.
Siniakova saved three break points in the first game of the decider before breaking serve on her second chance. The Czech player consolidated the break with a hold to build up a 3-0 lead.
Siniakova fended off four break points to hold serve for 4-1 in a 19-minute marathon fifth game. Kenin fought back by winning four consecutive games thanks to two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to take a 5-4 lead, but she fired the ball beyond the baseline twice from 40-15 and failed to convert her two match points. Siniakova reeled off six points in a row from 0-40 down at 5-5. Siniakova got the final break of the match in the 12th game to seal a thrilling win after 3 hours and 44 minutes, when Kenin sent her forehand into the tramlines. The Czech team celebrated the fourth of their six titles since 2011 at the O2 Arena in Prague.
Siniakova scored the third win in four singles Fed Cup rubbers. She hit 4 aces and won 56 percent of her first serve points. Kenin hit 42 winners but she made 76 unforced errors.
Czech Republic ended a 8-match losing streak against the USA at Fed Cup level.
Petr Pala has won his sixth title as captain of the Czech Fed Cup team. He boasts an impressive 24-4 win-loss record in the 28 Fed Cup matches where he took charge of the Czech team.
The US team captained by Kathy Rinaldi did not defend their title won in 2017, but they featured a young team with three players Danielle Collins, Sofia Kenin and Nicole Melichar, who made their debut at this event this weekend.
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