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Mattek-Sands to Make Fed Cup Debut

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced today that Bethanie Mattek-Sands will make her Fed Cup debut for the U.S. in the 2009 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas semifinal versus the Czech Republic. She will be joined by Liezel Huber, the No. 1 doubles player in the world, Melanie Oudin and another Fed Cup rookie, Alexa Glatch, on an indoor hard court at the Starobrno Rondo Arena in Brno, Czech Republic, on April 25-26.

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 25 with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, April 26. Tennis Channel will present daily coverage beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday and 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.

“I am thrilled that Bethanie is healthy and able to represent her country at this time,” said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “Liezel is unquestionably our team leader and Melanie really impressed me with both her competitive spirit and her composure in Surprise. Alexa, at just 19, is playing some of the best tennis of her career right now, and her game really complements the rest of the team in that each player has a very distinct style. I am really excited to take this team to the semifinal tie in the Czech Republic.”

Huber, 32, became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games. She finished the 2007 season tied for No. 1 in the world doubles rankings and has not surrendered the top spot since. Huber, born in South Africa, spent four years on the South African Fed Cup team and posted a 9-3 overall record (9-2 doubles) in 12 ties — all on red clay. She has won both of her matches for the U.S. in Fed Cup play, including the tie-clinching match with partner Julie Ditty against Argentina in this year’s quarterfinal. Huber is a four-time Grand Slam doubles champion, including a win at last year’s US Open.

Mattek-Sands, 24, will make her debut on the U.S. Fed Cup team. She had the best season of her career in 2008, rising over 70 spots in the Sony Ericsson WTA rankings. She reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, her best showing in a Grand Slam, before losing to Serena Williams. Mattek- Sands also reached her first tour final in Quebec City, Canada, in November, and reached the semifinals in Birmingham, England, and Los Angeles, after which Mattek-Sands made her debut in the Top 50. The top-ranked American other than the Williams sisters, Mattek-Sands is currently No. 38 in the world.

Oudin, 17, will be making her second straight appearance for the U.S. Fed Cup team after earning a key singles victory against Argentina with the U.S. facing a 2-1 deficit in February’s quarterfinal. Oudin officially turned pro after the 2008 US Open Junior Championships, where she reached the semifinals as the No. 2 seed. She achieved her best result in a tour event in Quebec City, where she recorded her first win over a Top 50 player (Sybille Bammer) en route to the quarterfinals. Oudin won her first professional title last July at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Lexington, Ky., and also appeared in the semifinals at two other $50,000 events. She is currently No. 176 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Rankings.

Glatch, 19, will also make her Fed Cup debut in the Czech Republic. She won her fifth career singles title on the USTA Pro Circuit in Liguna Niguel, Calif., in January, and had her best-ever showing in a tour-level event in Indian Wells, Calif., where she reached the third round. After reaching the second round in Miami, she is now No. 112 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Rankings. Glatch had a spectacular career on the junior circuit, which peaked in 2005 when she won the Easter Bowl and then reached both the singles and doubles final at the US Open Junior Championships.

The U.S. and the Czech Republic have met ten times in Fed Cup competition with the U.S. owning an 8-2 advantage. The U.S. won the last meeting between the two nations in 2003 in the first round tie in Lowell, Mass., as Venus and Serena Williams combined to win all five matches in the tie.

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 85 countries competing this year. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles — the last coming in 2000 — and is one of eight nations competing for the 2009 Fed Cup title as part of the Fed Cup World Group.

 

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