Fed Cup: World Group Preview
Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:24
You can visit the fed cup website for where to find TV and radio coverage of each tie
Only 16 countries qualify for the elite World Group and World Group II each year (eight in World Group and eight in World Group II). Each tie is contested in a best of five match format and is played across two days. On the first day there are two singles matches, and then the reverse singles matches take place on the following day. The final match is a doubles. The First Round Ties in the World Group and World Group II are played on a home and away knockout basis.
World Group I Ties
Russia vs. China
Olympic Stadium, Moscow, Russia
Surface: Hard (RuKortHard) Indoors
Russia will be firm favourites for this cross-continental match up, as China will be missing its No.1 player. Jie Zheng withdrew with a wrist injury sustained from last week’s Australian Open. China has been hit by injury with withdrawals of 3 top 40 players, meaning the Chinese flew into the Russian capital with only 3 fit players.
The defending champions Russia boasts the world No.4 Elena Dementieva and former world No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Italy vs. France
Palais du Sport, Orleans, France
Surface: Hard (Resin) Indoors
A delightful European match-up sees two former Fed Cup champions take to the court.
Amelie Mauresmo and Alize Cornet take the lead for the French side on Saturday and will be up against two feisty Italians in the form of Flavia Pennetta (world No.12) and Francesca Schiavone (world No.38).
Argentina vs. USA
Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex, Surprise, USA
Surface: Hard (Decoturf) Outdoors
USA and Argentina meet for the fourth time with USA holding a 2-1 lead in previous ties. The two nations have not met since Argentina scored a surprise victory in the 1993 quarterfinal in Germany.
USA has won 17 Fed Cups, although its last triumph came in 2000. It is bidding to reach the semi finals for the fifth consecutive year and suffered its last first-round defeat in 2002. It is going to be tough for the yankees as their highest ranked singles player is world No.75 Jill Craybas.
Czech Republic vs. Spain
Brno Exhibition Center, Brno, Czech Republic
Surface: Carpet Indoors
Aussie Open shock quarter finalist Carla Suarez-Navarro heads up the Spanish team. Spain will be hoping to keep up Spains strong Fed Cup record. In 2008, they upset Italy and China to advance to its 11th final before losing to Russia, and has only lost in the first round once in the last 5 years.
Their opponents boast two top 50 players Iveta Benesova (world No.35) and Petra Kvitova (world No.42). The Czechs only returned to the world group last year for the first time since 2004 and will be bidding to advance to their first Fed Cup semi final since 1997.
World Group II Ties
Belguim vs. Slovak Republic
Sibamac Arena – National Tennis Centre, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Both teams started in World Group II last year. Belguim who won the Fed Cup in 2001 have been out of the World Group since 2007 while the Slovaks have been absent from the World Group since 2004.
Dominika Cibulkova and Daniela Hantuchova lead the Slovak team and will be facing a weaker Belguim team since the retirement of Justine Henin in 2008. Yanina Wickmayer is the highest ranked Belgian player at world No.76.
Germany vs. Switzerland