U.S. Fed Cup team selected
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced today that her core group of Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Melanie Oudin, and former world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber will be joined by Christina McHale, who recently broke into the top 100 for the first time, in representing the U.S. against Germany in the 2011 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff in Stuttgart, Germany, April 16-17. Mattek-Sands, Oudin and Huber led the U.S. to consecutive Fed Cup finals the past two seasons, while McHale made her only Fed Cup appearance in the 2010 first round against France. A victory against the Germans will ensure that the U.S. can contend for the 2012 title.
Venus Williams has committed to attend the tie and support her compatriots, though she is not expected to play for the U.S. due to injury.
The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 16 with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, April 17. Tennis Channel will present daily coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
“After a tough outing on the road at Belgium, I know this team is very eager to return to the court against Germany,” said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “The Germans are a strong young team made up of a very talented group of players. Playing on foreign soil is always a difficult task, but our team will be ready to play hard and try to ensure that we can compete for the Fed Cup title once again next year.”
Mattek-Sands, 26, will make her sixth Fed Cup appearance for the U.S since making her debut in 2009. Last year, she became the first player in U.S. Fed Cup history to win two consecutive live matches on the final day of competition since the best-of-five format was instituted to help the U.S. come from a 2-1 deficit to beat Russia in the semifinals. Mattek-Sands has a 5-6 career Fed Cup record, and is undefeated in three doubles matches. She is currently ranked No. 41 in singles and a career-high No. 11 in doubles, and reached the 2010 Wimbledon doubles semifinals with Fed Cup teammate Huber.
Oudin, 19, has been named to the U.S. Fed Cup team for eight consecutive ties since making her debut in the 2009 World Group quarterfinal. She owns a 5-6 career singles record in Fed Cup competition, and earned the only point for the U.S. in the 2010 final when she beat 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in straight sets. In 2009, Oudin defeated former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic en route to a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon, and 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. She is currently ranked No. 75 in the world.
McHale, 18, returns to the team for the first time since making her debut in the 2010 World Group first round against France. Last month, McHale defeated two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova en route to the third round at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and she is currently ranked a career-high No. 97. McHale won the 2009 USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships to earn a main draw wild card into the 2009 US Open, where she won her first round match before losing to Maria Sharapova. She has also appeared in the main draws of two Australian Opens and the 2010 French Open.
Huber, 34, has won six of her seven career matches for the U.S. Fed Cup team, including tie-clinching semifinal matches in both 2009 and 2010 with partner Mattek-Sands. Currently the No. 3 doubles player in the world, Huber owns four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and won the 2010 US Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan. Born in South Africa, Huber spent four years on the South African Fed Cup team (1998-00, ’03) where she posted a 9-3 overall record (9-2 doubles) in 12 ties. She became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games (where she teamed with Lindsay Davenport to reach the doubles quarterfinals). Huber and Martina Navratilova are the only players in Fed Cup history to have represented another nation before playing for the U.S.
The U.S. is 8-4 all-time against Germany in Fed Cup competition, which includes a 6-3 record against West Germany. The U.S. defeated Germany 4-1 in the last meeting between the two countries in the 2008 World Group quarterfinal in La Jolla, Calif., as Ashley Harkleroad and Lindsay Davenport combined to win three of four singles matches to clinch the tie before Davenport and Lisa Raymond won the doubles match.
The U.S. has only competed in the World Group Playoffs on two occasions - both at home - most recently in 2002. After losing the World Group first round tie to Austria, the U.S. hosted Israel in Springfield, Mo. Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles each won both of their singles matches en route to a 5-0 victory.
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 90 countries competing this year. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles - the last coming in 2000. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to usta.com.
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