USA Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi has said that USA are ready for their first round World Group clash with Australia in Ashville this weekend.
The Americans were denied a second consecutive Fed Cup title last year when they were beat by the Czech Republic 3-0 in the final.
However ahead of their first round clash with Australia, captain Kathy Rinaldi is ready to bring the US more success in 2019 and is ready to work hard for it, “We’re going to take it one match at a time and not underestimate anybody,” Rinaldi said in a press conference.
“We’re going to go out there, compete. We’re going to be a strong team, have each other’s backs, leave it all out on the court. That’s all I can ask as the captain.”
The first rubber of the tie will see Sofia Kenin play in-form Ashleigh Barty and after last year’s epic performance in the Fed Cup final the 20 year old is ready for another challenge, “Prague was something memorable,” Kenin explained.
“I’m never going to forget that. Only difference here is they’re going to be cheering for me instead of against me. It’s going to help me. Hopefully I can take the win for Team USA.”
In the second rubber on Saturday Madison Keys will take on Kimberly Birrell as the Americans will look to make their third consecutive Fed Cup final.
Garcia-Perez Levels Up For Spain
Meanwhile in World Group II world number 181 Georgina Garcia-Perez saved match point to ensure Spain enter day two level with Japan.
And it's all level in Japan as Spain fight back in the second rubber.
— Fed Cup (@FedCup) February 9, 2019
Despite no Garbine Muguruza, Carla Suarez Navarro or Naomi Osaka the first day in Japan saw some high-quality tennis.
In a rollercoaster second rubber Georgina Garcia-Perez used her 200km/h serve to her advantage after she saved match point in the 12th game to edge past Misaki Doi 6-2 4-6 7-6(2).
The Spaniard admitted she was nervous in the tiebreaker but is pleased with her effort, “My attitude and energy was very good thanks to the support of the team,” Garcia-Perez said.
“I was a bit stressed on match point but I was confident I could make a good serve, and that’s what I did — I’m very good under pressure. I was nervous about the tiebreak but that was when I started to play better, became more solid, and didn’t miss.”
The win was crucial as Nao Hibino put Japan 1-0 up earlier on with a comfortable 6-4 6-2 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo.
A nail-biting second day awaits with both teams looking to go one step closer to make the World Group for the 2020 season.
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.
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:
Winner of Group A v Winner of Group C
Winner of Group B v Winner of Group D
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.
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
Captain Benneteau ‘Proud’ After France Seal First Fed Cup For 16 Years
Kristina Mladenovic won both the matches she was involved with to seal the Fed Cup title for France.
France’s Fed Cup captain Julien Benneteau expressed his pride after France edged out Australia 3-2 in the Fed Cup final.
The visitors claimed their first Fed Cup title for 16 years in Perth after Kristina Mladenovic won both of the matches she was involved with.
It all started after Mladenovic produced one of the greatest wins of her career by edging out world number one Ash Barty 2-6 6-4 7-6(1) in the first match of the day.
Both players had convincing wins on day one and it was the Australian who started the strongest, claiming the first set 6-2.
However Mladenovic struck back in the second set with a crucial break at 5-4 as she closed out the set to force a decider.
There was a lot of momentum shifts in the deciding set but eventually the world number 40 dominated the tiebreak to seal a shock win and a 2-1 lead for France.
Australia hit back in the second rubber of the day as Ajla Tomljanovic produced a solid performance to defeat Pauline Parmentier 6-4 7-5.
After a convincing loss in day one, Tomljanovic produced stunning shot-making to redeem herself and score her first Fed Cup win as an Australian.
The deciding rubber was a highly-anticipated doubles match between Ash Barty and Sam Stosur taking on Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.
All four players had a combined total of 13 doubles grand slam titles as Australia had a good start to the match but lacked clinical edge after that.
The French team took advantage as they won the last two games of the opening set and the first two games of the second set.
This allowed them to control the tempo and when Stosur hit a volley long, the celebrations could start as they sealed a 6-4 6-3 win.
After the match, Captain Julien Benneteau expressed his pride at his French side, “I’m the proudest man on the planet right now,” Benneteau claimed.
“I’m so proud of my girls and the team, they deserve it because they fought for a long time for this title. It’s a dream for me. I tried to imagine that at the beginning of the year when I knew that I could have the best team with me on the court. Eight months later, here we are.”
The win means it’s France’s third Fed Cup triumph overall and their first since 2003, with Kristina Mladenovic winning all three of the matches she was involved with.
As for Australia, it was emotional scenes as Barty didn’t seem to have enough in the tank to edge the Aussies over the finish line.
This final also means its the last traditional final as the format will now to change a one-week 12 team contest which will take place next April in Budapest.
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