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Serena Williams to Lead U.S. Fed Cup Team into Final

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., — The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced today that World No. 2 Serena Williams will make her first Fed Cup appearance since 2007 for the U.S. in the 2009 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group final versus Italy. Williams hopes to lead the U.S. to the Fed Cup title for the first time since 2000 and will be joined by Liezel Huber, the No. 1 doubles player in the world, US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin and Alexa Glatch. The final will be contested on a red clay court at the Circolo del Tennis “Rocco Polimeni” in Reggio Calabria, Italy, on November 7-8.

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, November 7 with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, November 8. Tennis Channel will present daily live coverage beginning at 5:00 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

“I am very excited that Serena wants to represent her country. As Captain, you want to have your best players competing, and Serena is the best in the world,” said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “Liezel is unquestionably our team leader and her strong doubles play has clinched both ties this season. Melanie is possibly the most improved player in the world this year, as evidenced by her incredible run at the US Open, and Alexa won two key matches on the road against the Czech Republic in April and will not be intimidated by the environment. I strongly believe that this team can go into Italy and win the Fed Cup title.”

Williams, 28, will make her first appearance in Fed Cup since 2007 and is undefeated in her Fed Cup career. She has earned the No. 1 ranking on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour twice this season after a year in which she captured her 10th and 11th Grand Slam titles by winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon. She also partnered with sister Venus to win the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles. Williams is 4-0 in Fed Cup singles play, and helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title. She and Venus also won the Olympic Gold Medal in women’s doubles in 2000 and 2008.

Huber, 33, became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games. Huber, a four-time Grand Slam doubles champion who won the 2008 US Open, finished the 2007 season tied for No. 1 in the world doubles rankings and has not surrendered the top spot since. Born in South Africa, Huber 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 all three of her matches for the U.S. in Fed Cup play, including tie-clinching matches with partner Julie Ditty against Argentina in this year’s quarterfinal and with Bethanie Mattek-Sands against the Czech Republic to send the U.S. to the 2009 Fed Cup final.

Oudin, 18, will be making her third 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 has shot up the rankings in 2009 after a breakthrough year and is currently ranked No. 47 in the world. She defeated former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic en route to a fourth round appearance at Wimbleon, and recently made headlines when she upset 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Elena Dementieva and former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova in three set matches to become the youngest American quarterfinalist at the US Open since 1999. Oudin also won back-to-back USTA Pro Circuit titles at $50,000 events in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., and Raleigh, N.C., in May.

Glatch, 20, will make her second consecutive Fed Cup appearance for the U.S. after winning two singles matches in her debut against the Czech Republic in the 2009 World Group semifinals. Glatch won her fifth career singles title on the USTA Pro Circuit in Laguna 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. She also upset Italy’s Flavia Pennetta in the first round of the 2009 French Open to match her best result in a Grand Slam. Glatch is currently ranked No. 136 in the world.

The U.S. is undefeated against Italy in Fed Cup competition, having won all nine previous meetings between the two countries. The U.S. won the last meeting between the two nations in 2003 in the quarterfinal tie in Washington, D.C., as Chanda Rubin and Meghann Shaughnessy each won two singles matches to lead the U.S. to a 5-0 victory. The U.S. and Italy have never met in the Fed Cup final.

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 which competed for the 2009 Fed Cup title as part of the Fed Cup World Group. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to usta.com

 

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